Posted by Curt on 11 May, 2007 at 9:45 am. 3 comments already!


Not good:

Iran and North Korea have discussed ways of expanding multilateral cooperation and sharing experiences as sovereign independent nations.

In his meeting with North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yon Il on Thursday, Iran’s First Vice President Parviz Davoudi discussed the mutual capacity of both countries and said there is no limits to Tehran-Pyongyang relations.

"Iran is prepared to share its economic and technological achievements with North Korea," he said.

He referred to the common stance of the two countries towards the US policy and said independent nations are the winners because the era of colonialism has ended.

For his part, Kim Yung supported Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities, adding that all nations are entitled to use nuclear technology.

Referring to Iran’s achievements he expressed hope that his country would be able to use Iranian experience.

This renewed cooperation comes on the recent news that the Iranian economy is tanking big time:

Last week tens of thousands of angry workers,forming an illegal umbrella organization, flexed their muscles against President Ahmadinejad on International Labor Day in Tehran and a dozen provincial capitals. Marching through the capital’s streets, the workers carried a coffin draped in black with the legend "Workers’ Rights" inscribed on it. They shouted "No to slave labor! Yes, to freedom and dignity!"

Mr. Ahmadinejad centered his 2005 presidential campaign on a promise to "bring the country’s oil money to every family’s dinner table." After the election his position was boosted by a dramatic rise in oil prices, providing him with more than $100 million a day in state revenues.

And, yet, all official statistics show that, with inflation running around 18% and unemployment jumping to more than 30%, the average Iranian is worse off than three years ago. Under the previous administration of President Mohammad Khatami, the Islamic Republic scored average annual economic growth rates of around 4%. In a nation that needs to create a million new jobs to cope with its exploding demography, that kind of growth was certainly not enough to point to any Eldorado anytime soon. But it was enough to prevent the economy from sinking. Under President Ahmadinejad, however, the growth rate has dropped to around 3%–and that despite rising oil revenues.

[…]According to Abbas Abdi, a Tehran researcher and loyal critic of the regime, Iran is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the late 1970s. The effects of this are seen in the slowdown in real-estate prices–the first since 1997, even in Tehran’s prime districts. Printing money and spending on a no-tomorrow basis are not the only reasons for the crisis. President Ahmadinejad’s entire economic philosophy seems to be designed to do more harm than good.

I highlight that first paragraph to illustrate what can happen if the economy keeps tanking.  It can provide the fuse for a revolution inside that country, a revolution back to sanity. 

The current insanity is not accidental.  Hitler Jr. is tanking the economy on purpose.  The WSJ article above goes into great detail on how it’s all to combat the "Jewish Crusader" conspiracy to keep Muslim nations down.  That strategy has ruined their economy.  But no matter, his hope is to make Iran look like North Korea:

President Ahmadinejad, however, is determined to impose what looks like a North Korean model on the Iranian economy. He has already dissolved the Syndicate of Iranian Employers (SKI) as a capitalist cabal, and plans to replace it with a government-appointed body. He is also pushing a new Labor Code through the Islamic Majlis (parliament) to replace the existing one written with the help of the International Labor Organization in the 1960s and amended in 1991.

The proposed text abolishes most of the rights won by workers throughout the world as a result of decades of social struggle and political reform. President Ahmadinejad believes that Western-style trade unions and employers’ associations have no place in a proper Islamic society where the state, representing the will of Allah, can keep the "community of the faithful" free of class struggle, a typical affliction of "Infidel" societies.

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s next coup will likely be a major privatization scheme affecting more than 40 public corporations across the country. He has promised to help the employees buy up to 10% of the shares. The rest will go to rich mullahs and Revolutionary Guard officers and their business associates, using low interest loans from state-owned banks. By the time the scheme is ready, however, the Islamic Republic may be facing too deep an economic crisis for anyone–even greedy mullahs and corrupt Revolutionary Guardsmen–to want to invest even a
borrowed rial there.

So, in a nutshell Iran’s ambition is to become the next North Korea in almost every way possible, including nuclear.  And what are we doing about it?  During the Clinton years laws were passed in an attempt to freeze any investments in Iran.  These laws stated that sanctions would be imposed on foreign companies that invest more then 20 million into Iran’s oil sector. 

Sen. Dodd recently said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing that "not one foreign energy concern has been sanctioned,” but in other areas we’ve had great success: (h/t Kenneth Timmerman)

Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey described the type of financial steps the U.S. has been taking with our allies behind the scenes. These have had a real impact, and have made it more difficult for Iran to use the international financial system to send money to terrorist groups and to purchase equipment for their WMD programs.

Just one example: In January 2006, the U.S. imposed $70 million in fines on ABN Amro Bank NV of Holland for violating sanctions on Iran and laundering payments for Iranian entities. The fines were an effective measure that sent a clear message to the international banking community. They also led Amro and other banks to announce in the ensuing months that they would take no new business in Iran.

Financial sanctions can have a real impact, every little bit helps.  In my own state, the Socialist Republic of Kalifornia, there is a bill going through the assembly that will force the biggest retirement funds in the state to stop doing business with Iran: (h/t Rocket’s Brain Trust)

This bill would create the California Public Investments Protection Divest from Iran Act and additionally prohibit the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers’ Retirement System from investing public employee retirement funds in a company with business operations in Iran that has invested in, or is engaged in, business operations with entities in the defense, oil, nuclear, or natural gas sectors of Iran or the company is engaged in business operations with an Iranian organization labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States Department of State government.

Kenneth Timmerman has already written to the California Assembly to urge support of the measure:

Dear Assemblymen:

I am writing to commend you for your proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 221, to require California state pension funds to disinvest from companies doing business in Iran.

As someone who has worked for more than a decade to promote pro-democracy groups in Iran and a greater awareness of the precarious human rights situation Iranians face in their home country, I believe this bill will send a clear message to the Islamic Republic’s rulers that Western nations are serious in opposing the regime’s behavior.

They have already been hit hard by U.S. government efforts to choke off fresh investment capital that have begun to gain traction over the past year. Diplomatically, the Tehran regime is isolated. Despite high oil prices, economically it is vulnerable. By encouraging U.S. and foreign corporations to scale back their operations in Iran, this legislation will have a ripple effect that will help to weaken the clerical regime.

If just two companies – Royal Dutch Shell, and DaimlerChrysler – get the message and pull back from their extensive business operations in Iran, this bill will have been worth it. It compels large corporations to make a choice: do business with terrorists, or do business with Californians.

Even more important from our point of view, it will demonstrate to the Iranian people, who continue to look toward America as a beacon of freedom, that we have not forgotten them and their struggle for freedom.

If you feel strongly that more needs to be done to keep Tehran isolated, and forcing that Revolution of Sanity, please consider emailing letters of support to the California Assembly Committee of Appropiations (where the bill is currently languishing) in support of Assembly Bill 221. 

Mark Leno – Chair –
Mimi Walters – Vice Chair –
Anna M. Caballero –
Mike Davis –
Mark DeSaulnier –
Bill Emmerson –
Jared Huffman –
Betty Karnette –
Paul Krekorian –
Doug La Malfa –
Ted W. Lieu –
Fiona Ma –
Alan Nakanishi –
Pedro Nava –
Sharon Runner –
Jose Solorio –

Every little bit helps.

Now this article is a classic case of liberal scaremongering:

WASHINGTON – Neo-conservative hawks who championed the invasion of Iraq are leading a new campaign to persuade state and local governments, as well as other institutional investors, to "divest" their holdings in foreign companies and US overseas subsidiaries doing business in Iran.

While stressing that US military action against Iran’s nuclear program should not be taken off the table, they call their divestment strategy the "non-violent tool for countering the Iranian threat".

And, like the run-up to the Iraq war, the campaign has attracted bipartisan support. Democrats, including those who strongly oppose the George W Bush administration’s Iraq policy, see divestment, as well as other proposed economic sanctions against Tehran, as a way to look "tough on Iran" short of going to war.

It’s us Neo-Cons on the warpath once again.


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