Iran leader rules out nuclear bomb, will pursue energy
Marcus George, Zahra Hosseinian and Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters – August 30, 2012
Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons but will keep pursuing peaceful nuclear energy, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told heads of state from developing countries in Tehran. Iran, hosting a summit of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), is hoping the high-profile event will prove that Western efforts to isolate it and punish it economically for its disputed nuclear programme have failed. “Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none,” Khamenei told the assembled heads of state.
UN, Iran leaders duel over nuclear issue
Marc Burleigh, AFP – August 29, 2012
UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sparred in an unusually frank verbal duel on Wednesday over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, betraying high tensions on the issue. Ban told Khamenei and, separately, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take “concrete” steps to fix the worsening international showdown over their atomic activities, according to his spokesman. But Khamenei, according to his official website, shot back by saying the “defective” United Nations was in thrall to the United States, and accusing the UN nuclear watchdog of “sabotaging” Iran’s nuclear progress.
Prosecutors Link Money From China to Iran
Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times – August 29, 2012
Prosecutors say they have unearthed evidence in recent international money-transfer investigations that Chinese banks may have flouted United States sanctions against Iran. Now, as they investigate global banks suspected of funneling billions of dollars through their American branches to Iran and other sanctioned nations, the prosecutors are looking for transactions that could offer more information on the banks’ dealings with Iran.
Presidential Election news
Republican convention blitz on Obama foreign policy
AFP – August 29, 2012
Republicans used their nominating convention to train fire on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, labeling him an apologist who had ordered drastic military spending cuts and allowed US influence in the world to wane…After 2008 Republican flagbearer John McCain issued a scathing assessment that Obama had let American allies down, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was to take the podium to make the case that Romney would be an able leader of the free world. The multimillionaire businessman has little actual overseas experience other than his stint in France as a Mormon missionary, so the speech by Rice, 57, was expected to shed a little light on his foreign policy vision and prerogatives.
Precise Foreign Policy Intentions Can Be Tough to Gauge
Peter Baker, New York Times – August 29, 2012
Bill Clinton said he would crack down on China. George W. Bush said he would stay away from nation building. Barack Obama said he would restore civil liberties in the war on terror and sit down with rogue leaders. In foreign policy, the relationship between what presidential candidates say on the campaign trail and what they do once elected can be tenuous. If Mitt Romney wins in November, he may be in this respect no different from the men who preceded him, despite his tough talk on China, Iran and Russia.
Defense Spending: Republicans hate Obama’s defense cuts. The trouble is, they voted for them.
Dylan Matthews, Washington Post – August 29, 2012
In his speech tonight, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) decried Obama for cutting defense, saying, “We can’t afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget — on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making…And yet, the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this crippling blow to our military.” There’s just one problem: John McCain, and most other Republicans in the House and Senate, voted for the cuts in question.
Strategy and Diplomacy
Guidelines for laying down red lines
Seyom Brown, The Hill – August 29, 2012
The strategic signal de jour of tough-minded national security officials and mavens is the “red line”–whether drawn in the sand of the Syrian desert against chemical weapon threats; laid down around South China Sea islands against belligerent assertions of sovereignty; or sent through cyberspace as a centrifuge-disabling virus. But let the user beware of three pitfalls: overuse, excessive specificity, and absolutism.