Friday, September 16, 2022
William O. Beeman: Europe is Steadfact in Restricting Petroleum Imports from Russia
Friday, March 11, 2022
West views Ukraine more favorably than Yemen--William O. Beeman
West views Ukraine more favorably than Yemen: academic
By Mohammad Mazhari
March 7, 2022 - 15:23
THRAN – An American academic says that Western powers regard the Ukraine crisis more favorably for assistance than Yemen or Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, Europeans and Americans are viewing the Ukrainian situation more favorably for aid and assistance than Yemen or Afghanistan,” William O. Beeman tells the Tehran Times.
“Some claim that this is due to the inherent racist or Islamophobic tendencies in Europe and the United States. There is no question that Ukraine is seen as White and Christian (President Zelensky is, however, the only international Jewish head of state outside of Israel),” Beeman adds.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Some political pundits like John Mearsheimer believe that Ukraine could be neutral and get rid of the West-Russia competition. But what happened is that Ukraine entered the competition. What is your comment?
A: It appears to be too late for Ukraine to remain both neutral and independent of the Russia-Euro American competition. Zelensky has already asked the EU for membership and has requested NATO membership. The only thing that Putin would accept is for Zelensky to be removed and some pro-Moscow puppet be put in his place, as in Belarus. Putin wants to recreate the Russian Empire, and "unite all Slavic people." His position is that Ukraine is a "fake country" created by Lenin/Stalin and is really part of Greater Russia. And as for neutrality, with even perpetually neutral Finland and Sweden now considering joining NATO, that ship has sailed.
Q: How do you see reactions of the American public to the Ukraine war? Apparently, some Republicans, particularly Trump, praise Putin.
A: Part of the American public listens to former president Trump and right-wing media such as Fox News. Commentator Tucker Carlson has been rooting for Russia, and there is a segment of the American population that follows this line of thinking without much real examination of the issues. However, recent polls show that more than 80% of the American public does not support Putin's actions, and many say they would be willing to pay more for energy if it would stop Putin's invasion.
Q: What is America's record when we talk about respecting sovereignty?
Is there a good invasion and a bad invasion? For example, when America invades Iraq it is reasonable but when other countries do the same thing it is a violation of international law?
A: The United States has a terrible record when it comes to honoring the sovereignty of other nations. Over decades the United States has been involved in efforts of regime change in many nations including Latin America, the Middle East (West Asia), and Southeast Asia. Many of these actions before the fall of the Soviet Union were aimed at Cold War containment of "Communism". More recently actions directed at Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were directly aimed at regime change or regime support. So, in purely historical terms, the United States doesn't have much room to lecture other nations about the morality of hegemony.
Q: How may the Ukraine crisis affect the Vienna talks?
A: If the JCPOA is restored and sanctions against Iran are lifted-especially sanctions against oil and natural gas exports, it would greatly relieve petroleum scarcity in the world market. Iran has a large stockpile of unsold petroleum products that could be immediately released. Iran's oil export capacity could meet 1/3 of all European needs for oil. So resolving the JCPOA would be a huge benefit for Europe and the United States in its conflict with Russia. It would also help curb the current worldwide inflation not only by reducing the price of oil but by opening Iran with 84 million people to the world market.
Q: The Ukraine war reminds us of other wars in the region like the war on Yemen. What can we learn when we see different approaches to these wars?
A: Unfortunately, Europeans and Americans are viewing the Ukrainian situation more favorably for aid and assistance than Yemen or Afghanistan. Some claim that this is due to the inherent racist or Islamophobic tendencies in Europe and the United States. There is no question that Ukraine is seen as White and Christian (President Zelensky is, however, the only international Jewish head of state outside of Israel). And that seems to be a factor in driving aid to Ukraine as opposed to other countries where help is needed.
Saturday, December 04, 2021
May the Vienna Talks Push Iran to Seek Completely Independent Directions? (William O. Beeman)
May the Vienna Talks Push Iran to Seek Completely Independent Directions?
William O. Beeman
I am pessimistic about the outcome of the new round of Vienna talks. Both sides are completely intransigent, and have been for a long time. Both sides want the other party to back down and make concessions before they will move. Iran insists on all sanctions being lifted. The United States insists on Iran returning to the status before Trump withdrew from the JCPOA–both reduced enrichment of uranium, and return to full IAEA inspections. With neither side giving an inch, there can be no progress. The key to success is to agree to have action simultaneously. This will require a brokered solution with a third party operating in good faith with both Iran and the United States.
I do not believe all parties are serious about returning to the JCPOA. President Biden is suffering from a drop in popularity. He cannot make concessions to Iran without suffering politically. The slightest concession will result in vicious attacks from Republicans, led by former President Trump. The Republicans are just waiting for this, waiting to pounce on President Biden. Iran’s new government does not want to appear weak vis-a-vis the United States, and so they are also not making any concessions. They also fear, quite correctly, that they will make concessions, and then the United States will not respond. This is what happened many times in the past. The United States always wants to blame Iran, but it is a simple fact that President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA. It is not Iran’s fault. So, I think Iran is making a correct assumption about the unreliability of the United States when it comes to guarantees.
According to some reports, the current impasse is not due to an Iranian sense of immunity to pressure; rather it is largely because President Biden is refusing to commit his administration to lift sanctions on Iran during the remaining years of his presidency, even if Iran fully complies with the nuclear deal. If President Biden’s popularity recovers and the Democratic Party shows strength in the next year, he will be in a stronger position to negotiate with Iran. For now being “tough” on Iran is a much better political position for him domestically.
The United States has been demonizing Iran since the time of the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79. There is absolutely no political value for either Democrats or Republicans in making concessions to Iran. No American politician ever lost a vote by attacking Iran. American politicians of either party who seem to be “soft” on Iran are attacked immediately. It is political suicide to agree to Iran’s terms without obtaining something substantial in return.
Some critics say the nuclear dispute is not resolvable through technical discussions. This is a political issue that is rooted in distrust between the U.S. and Iran. So, they need mutual trust. The JCPOA took nearly two years to negotiate with a great deal of yelling and shouting. The United States is not a trustworthy treaty or agreement partner. Iran has also used the lever of uranium enrichment to increase or decrease pressure on the United States and its European partners in the JCPOA. So both sides can be accused of acting in bad faith. Trust can only be built when people actually adhere to their promises.
Europe could be a much stronger, much more effective mediator in these talks. Thus far the European partners in the JCPOA have been very weak–almost non-existent in these talks. I would love to see France, the UK, or Germany step up and become a forceful mediator in these talks. Thus far they have been completely cowardly–mostly because they fear that they will suffer sanctions from the United States if they show the slightest favoritism to Iran.
Iran is already moving toward leaving the economic sphere of the United States and Europe. The move toward China, India, and Russia is a very clear direction for Iran’s future now. Without any cooperation from the United States in negotiations, and without any positive action toward mediation from Europe, we may see Iran seeking completely independent directions to solve its economic difficulties. The United States will regret this if it happens.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
U.S. and Iran are Playing for Time--Interview with Professor William O. Beeman (Bazaar)
TEHRAN(Bazaar) – William O. Beeman, Professor Emeritus of University of Minnesota, says Both the United States and Iran are playing for time. President Biden has suffered a dramatic drop in popularity in the United States.
Following is the text of the Bazaar interview with Professor William O. Beeman.
Bazaar: Axios has stated that the United States is seeking an interim agreement with Iran in order to gain the necessary time to negotiate a better agreement. What is your assessment of the solution?
Beeman: Both the United States and Iran are playing for time. President Biden has suffered a dramatic drop in popularity in the United States. With mid-term elections coming up next year, his administration is very cautious about negotiating an agreement with Iran that will be attacked by Republicans as showing "weakness" on the part of the United States. The first person to launch that attack will be former president Trump, who still has a large number of followers. On Iran's part, Iran is seeking to avoid a negative censure on the part of the IAEA, and so is playing for time until the next IAEA report. Iranian leaders are feeling more confident about their bargaining position with increased diplomatic and trade ties with China and Russia. They are increasingly sending signals that they may not need the United States or Western economies to survive the current economic crisis in Iran.
Bazaar: Three American and Israeli sources told Axios that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, in a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, came up with the idea of reaching an interim agreement with Iran to allow time for nuclear talks. Why is this idea put forward by a European country currently being considered by the United States?
Beeman: It is a stalling tactic made to look like progress is being made. The United States wants to continue to appear to be moving forward with these agreements while not making any concessions to Iran. The idea of an "interim agreement" will not be accepted by Iran unless there are significant reductions in sanctions.
Bazaar: According to US sources, such an idea means that in the face of a halt to 60 percent enrichment in Iran, the United States and its allies would release some of Iran's blocked funds to provide sanctions exemptions for humanitarian goods. Given that nuclear progress is Iran's bargaining chip to lift all sanctions, will Iran accept the offer?
Beeman: Sanctions exemptions for humanitarian goods are already in place. They simply are not being implemented. The amount of Iranian blocked funds is insignificant. On the other hand, Iran is not actually engaging in a nuclear weapons program, so increase or decrease in enrichment activity is being used as a mechanism to increase or decrease pressure on the United States with no actual meaningful consequence. So we see that both sides are playing a kind of Kabuki theater game with the other side promising some kind of action, but actually delivering nothing of any consequence.
Bazaar: This is still an immature idea, and the Biden administration continues to insist that the 2015 nuclear deal be fully revived, but given the plan to resume nuclear talks on November 29, the proposal would at least provide an opportunity for U.S. government work on it. What is the benefit of this interim agreement for the United States and will it satisfy its allies as well?
Beeman: Yes, the Biden administration wants to show that it is strong diplomatically--Biden has made diplomacy a hallmark of his foreign relations policy--and so it has come up with this interim agreement device to demonstrate progress. It is unlikely, however, that Iranian officials will be willing to do anything at all without reduction in sanctions. As I stated above, humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions already exist, so the United States is really promising nothing except a willingness to actually implement the exemptions. Iranian officials will accept nothing short of meaningful action, and the "interim agreement" as leaked to the press is much to limited and weak to be effective.
Bazaar: What is your assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency's new report about Iran before the start of the nuclear talks?
Beeman: The IAEA Report is similar to previous ones, expressing mild concern about restrictions on monitoring activity. But the current report could have been much, much harsher. The fact that Iran agreed to resume talks on renewing the JCPOA in November has blunted the IAEA criticism, which seems to have been the main purpose of the Iranian agreement to continue negotiations. It should be noted that the IAEA report emphasizes that communication between Iranian officials and the IAEA have continued and have been characterized by words such as "cooperative" and "constructive." This shows that the IAEA is interested in creating a positive atmosphere for continued engagement with Iran.
William O. Beeman
Sunday, September 26, 2021
American Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Historical Lessons--William O. Beeman
William O. Beeman
21 September 2021
The result of the war on Afghanistan was ineffective because the United States was not prepared to do anything that would really foster social change. Rather than actually working to understand Afghan culture and society, the United States under Republican administrations installed “plumbers” (Afghan “leaders” like Karzai and American contractors) to do the work for it , backed up by a U.S. military presence with soldiers who never learned the language, never understood the culture, and who were ineffective. The trillions of dollars spent in Afghanistan were siphoned off to contractors such as Haliburton who made billions of dollars. Afghan politicians were also corrupt and stole enormous amounts of money. In the end it was a botched effort. President Biden was right to end it .
Afghanistan is in effect a federation of tribal and ethnic groups. If the United States had started with that premise, it might have been effective, but American efforts in Afghanistan were always top-down. They never penetrated to the local level where the real power lay.
In addition, American decision-makers are blamed for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, especially Iraq which posed no direct threat to U.S. national interests and the war was waged based on false claims. The invasion of Iraq was a pretext that was concocted by the neoconservatives who wanted to completely remake the Middle East, toppling existing rulers and creating regime change where the new rulers would be friendly toward Israel and the United States. One can recognize this as a continuation of Cold War mentality where nations are either on the side of the U.S. and its allies (like Israel) or against them. The 9/11 events fed into this narrative.
The invasion of Afghanistan and the 20 year war was really a war against Islamic forces. To be sure the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (as well as ISIS/ISIL/DAESH) are extremist Islamic groups rejected by mainstream Islam, but in the naive American view, they are “all just Muslims.” President Biden has courageously withdrawn the United States from this ineffective “war on Islam.” It is not clear what will happen in the future. If another Republican becomes President and Republicans dominate in Congress, the United States could return to this ineffective policy. The justifications they will use are “protection of Israel,” and “nuclear weapons danger ”–the same themes they have used to justify U.S. military action in the past 70 years.
The Afghan army had no one to be loyal to. They certainly were not loyal to the Afghan central government , which was massively corrupt and made no attempt to reach out to, or support anyone on the local level. The United States was a source of huge financial resources, much of which was stolen through corruption. When the United States withdrew the Army naturally saw that the only effective power that was left was the Taliban, and they, quite logically, surrendered.
President Donald J. Trump is absolutely responsible for the debacle that was the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. He capitulated to the Taliban, made weak and vague agreements with them with no guarantees. He bragged that no one would be able to stop the withdrawal.
The faults of thewithdrawal are completely attributable to Trump. If he had continued as president, the same events would have occurred as took place under Biden.
The United States is indeed an unreliable partner, and has been since World War II. Alliances with the United States never last in the face of American domestic interests, and they change with eachpresidential administration. The nations of the world would be wise not to rely on the UnitedStates for anything. Most nations already know this, so they make no long-term plans with the United States.
However, I believe the Taliban will fail at governing Afghanistan through some kind of central control. As I mentioned above, Afghanistan is a federation of conflicting tribal and ethnic groups. It always has been. The Taliban are Pushtun–a minority ethnic group in their own country. A minority ruling a majority is a formula for failure of any government, and Afghanistan is no exception.
The federated governing principle of the Loya Jirga (council of regional powers) as the only effective body of national agreement shows this. The Taliban are naive and inexperienced at governing, and their extreme brand of Islam will not be an adequate basis for government. In the short term they are going to fail, and the country for a period will devolve into semi-independent regions.
Additionally, the one thing that has emerged from the American occupation is the empowerment ofwomen. The Taliban are already having difficulty dealing with this reality, which will continue–aided by international pressure. As long as women are repressed in Afghanistan the Taliban will have extreme difficulty forming any kind of effective government.
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Return to the JCPOA--"Iran Deal"--Iran's Conventional Arms are Completely Legal--Interview with William O. Beeman
|Return to the JCPOA ("Iran Deal"_--Iran's Conventional Arms are Completely Legal--Interview with William O. Beeman|
Wednesday, December 02, 2020
The Assassination of Dr. Fakrizadeh was a Mistake for Israel and the United States
Iran 1, Netanyahu and Trump 0The Israelis and Trump have miscalculated in carrying out this murder. The assassination of Dr. Fakhrizadeh was a really boneheaded, stupid stunt. The crime was undoubtedly conducted by Israel with the complicity of the United States. This assassination will not slow Iran's nuclear program (which by the way, is completely legal under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty--the NPT). It was a symbolic execution pure and simple. It was also designed to make it more difficult for President-elect Biden to negotiate with Iran. It was a failure on both counts. Whereas Dr. Fakrizadeh was historically important as a nuclear scientist, the Iranian nuclear program is by no means crippled by this. Iran has a large coterie of nuclear scientists and a robust infrastructure. Eliminating one person, no matter how "important" will not stop it. Second, rather than retaliate with some kind of military attack, the Iranians merely pushed the hot button they know will work--increasing their absolutely legal enrichment of uranium. Yes, the enriched uranium stockpiles exceed the limits specified in the JCPOA, an agreement (not a treaty) to assure that Iran would adhere to the NPT, which they still are doing. We should remind ourselves, that Trump withdrew from the agreement, The Europeans have also not been able to independently maintain the provisions of the agreement. The United States has not been attacked. Biden will be able to return to the JCPOA.
Monday, November 09, 2020
William O. Beeman--The US election has created a lot of ambiguity--Interview with Iranian Mehr News Agency
The University of Minnesota professor said in an interview with Mehr;
The US election has created a lot of ambiguity
A professor at the University of Minnesota believes that the 2020 US presidential election has created a lot of ambiguity in the country and there is a possibility that post-election unrest will spread.
Mehr News Agency , International Group - Amir Mohammad Ismaili: The recent US election has been marked by many ups and downs, and while both candidates consider themselves the winners of the presidency, the media is reporting on Joe Biden's victory. This is despite the fact that Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed election fraud and theft of popular votes.
On the other hand, tensions, conflicts and unrest have occurred in the United States following the escalation, which has further increased the likelihood of internal riots. We spoke with Professor William Beiman to investigate the scale and nature of the unrest.
Professor William Bayman is Professor and Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, USA. He is a well-known international researcher on the Middle East and the Islamic world, especially Iran, the Persian Gulf region and Central Asia. Bimen also chaired the Middle East Division of the American Anthropological Society from 2005 to 2008. The text of the conversation is as follows:
How do you assess the current turbulent situation in the United States?
Joe Biden has already won enough electoral votes (in the complex process of our election) and can be called President. Trump is trying to challenge the election in court, but it can almost be said that he will not win. This weekend we will see if there is a strong public reaction from Trump supporters or not, but for now we have seen some reactions.
Joe Biden won the most popular votes in history and received more than 74 million votes. This removes many ambiguities about the future of the United States, but leaves many ambiguities unanswered.
* Some experts believe that the United States is on the verge of internal unrest and insurgency. what is your opinion?
Riots can still happen, but no real riots have taken place since Tuesday's election. Trump supporters have tried to protest the vote count. They are protesting against the millions of votes sent by mail instead of in person.
How long does it usually take for challenged votes to be approved?
It takes about two weeks or more to approve these votes. During this time, Trump supporters may be trying to create unrest, so we have to wait and see how things go.
Q: How do you think the political and security structure of the United States will react to any possible unrest?
The United States has unusual restrictions on the use of the military. The National Army (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) is legally barred from interfering in internal affairs unless requested to do so by state governments. Each state has a section of the National Guard that can be mobilized by state governors; Therefore, any military intervention is in the hands of the state governors, not the president. There are also local police, police stations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that can only intervene in federal crimes. Trump may try to enlist in the military, but he will not succeed.
News ID 5066542
Professor William Beeman: Biden could lift Trump's sanctions on Iran immediately
Professor William Beeman: Biden could lift Trump's sanctions on Iran immediately
TEHRAN(Bazaar) – William O. Beeman, Professor Emeritus of University of Minnesota, says If the United States returns to the JCPOA they will have to also lift the sanctions relief specified in the JCPOA.
In an interview with the Bazaar, Beeman also says, “There must be talks about whether the U.S. will return to the JCPOA or not in advance of this.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Bazaar: Joe Biden, in an article published on CNN, presented a three-stage policy against Iran. Accordingly, he presented the three phases of nuclear talks, regional issues, the missile issue and human rights under one package. The important issue here is timing. That is, whether Biden considers the nuclear issue independent or links it to missile and regional issues. If such a connection is made, the probability of reaching an agreement with Iran is close to zero. On this basis, it is argued that he may seek to consider each issue separately and independently in possible negotiations with Iran. What is your assessment of Biden's policy toward Iran?
Beeman: We can't know exactly what Joe Biden will do. But it will have to be a political calculation. He can't just reverse Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA without creating an issue that Republicans will use against him. Therefore if he does anything with regard to Iran, he must show that he has “improved” on the agreement. If I were advising him, I would suggest that he condition returning to the JCPOA and eliminating sanctions on Iran firmly agreeing to additional talks on the other two issues. But he hasn't asked me. Nevertheless that would be, I believe, the safest course for him politically.
Bazaar: Biden has repeatedly spoken of returning to the JCPOA during his election campaigns. But there has been no talk of lifting sanctions on Iran. What is the reason for this, and will it lift nuclear sanctions in return for Iran's return from reducing its JCPOA commitments?
Beeman: If the United States returns to the JCPOA they will have to also lift the sanctions relief specified in the JCPOA. So there must be talks about whether the U.S. will return to the JCPOA or not in advance of this. There were additional sanctions imposed by Trump after the U.S. withdrawal. Biden could lift those immediately. If I were in his position, I would claim that the additional sanctions were not achieving anything, and that they created a humanitarian crisis in Iran and in the region, so lifting them would be a wise move.
Bazaar: The Democratic Party announced in a statement during the presidential election campaign that it would no longer pursue a policy of regime change in Iran. Is this policy still pursued when Biden came to power or was it just a propaganda issue?
Beeman: Yes. The policy of regime change has been a part of the Republican Party platform since George W. Bush. I believe the Democratic Party should stick to their promise and specifically abandon this policy.
Bazaar: In general, what changes will Biden's Middle East policy have compared to Trump?
Beeman: There may be more pressure on Israel to abandon the settlements. There will be a movement away from MBS and the Saudi Arabian regime. The United States has military facilities in Qatar and Bahrain, and there will be continued efforts to protect them. The United States will also likely continue withdrawal from Iraq.
۱۹ آبان ۱۳۹۹ - ۰۹:۴۳
Wednesday, October 07, 2020
William O. Beeman: Europeans have to deal with U.S if Trump re-elected
9:34 AM (3 hours ago)
Europeans have to deal with U.S if Trump re-elected; Expert
The United States has threatened to punish any nation that uses dollars or dollar transfers to aid Iran," an American scholar whose specialty is the Middle East told ILNA.
William Beeman who is professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota talked about the U.S Presidential election and the results of that election to the international community. He says “Everyone is waiting for the U.S. presidential elections before taking definitive action.” Adding that if Trump wins, European has to find some way to deal with him. Right now the JCPOA is in stasis, and it could stay that way, but it would be rendered useless.
Below is Beeman's interview with ILNA news agency:
Q: Can US diplomacy head off conflict between the US and Iran?
A: There are many things that can lead to war, but not these futile "Snapback actions" on the part of the United States. These have been completely rejected by every other nation, and the UN has ruled that the United States cannot make them incumbent on other nations, because Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA. So the United State has failed in trying to enact these actions. Additionally, the United States had already sanctioned everything possible in Iran, so there was no room for Trump to do more.
Q: Europe has not fulfilled its obligations of JCPOA. Why did this happen?
A: The Europeans would like to fulfill their obligations, but they are hamstrung by the United States because of the dominance of the U.S. Dollar in international trade. The United States has threatened to punish any nation that uses dollars or dollar transfers to aid Iran. The Europeans tried to create another financial transfer system to bypass the U.S. restrictions, and it was implemented, but it was so minuscule that it had no effect. Russia and China are also trying to develop alternative transfer systems that would bypass the dollar.
Q: EU Chief reaffirms commitment to keep JCPOA alive. Will the EU Keep the JCPOA Alive?
A: It is still alive, and if Biden is elected, it will be available to be renewed. Everyone is waiting for the U.S. presidential elections before taking definitive action. The United States has done all it can, and has been rebuffed by the International Community.
Q: Some believe that with Trump's victory, we will see Europe turn to the United States and destroy JCPOA. What is your opinion?
A: If Trump wins, this might happen, but only because four more years of intransigence on the JCPOA will render it effectively ineffective. If Trump wins, Europeans will have to find some way to deal with him. Right now the JCPOA is in stasis, and it could stay that way, but it would be rendered useless.
What people continually forget is that Iran and all other nations (except Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea and South Sudan) are bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is a real treaty, not just an "agreement" like the JCPOA. Iran is in full compliance with the NPT, and so Iran cannot proceed to any kind of nuclear weapons development without withdrawing from the NPT. This has been talked about in Iran, but I don't see it happening.
Foreign Minister Zarif has just laid out a set of conditions for Iran to return to discussions with the U.S. over the JCPOA. If Biden wins he will have a similar set, and discussions could begin again. If Trump wins, nothing will happen.
Q: Is Donald Trump going to win the US election?
A: At present he is losing. The question remains whether he would leave office if he lost, or would try to retain power through some kind of coup. We are worried about this in the United States. Our strange election system makes it possible for Trump to win the election even if he loses the popular vote. So the calculus of voting is very complex, usually coming down to the vote in a very few selected states where the vote will be close. Those are the states to watch.