Illegitimate Sanctions on Iran

Stephen Lendman

Work at a natural gas site in Assaluyeh, Iran, has slowed as inter-
national sanctions have forced foreign companies to pull out.

Washington bears full responsibility for imposing illegitimate sanctions on Iran. Other countries are pressured to agree. Doing so harms their own interests. Heavy-handed US bullying largely gets its way. Rule of law principles and norms are violated. At issue is advancing Washington's imperium.

America's 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) lets presidents claim unusual and/or extraordinary foreign threats, declare a national emergency, and regulate commerce accordingly. Presidents have taken full advantage deceptively, unjustifiably, and illegally.

In November 1979, Washington seized $12 billion in Iranian government bank deposits, securities, gold, and other properties. They included $5.6 billion held by overseas branches of US banks.

A full trade embargo followed. In January 1981, it was lifted under provisions of the Algiers Accords. Most Iranian assets were unblocked. Nonetheless, Iranian Assets Control Regulations remained in effect.

For decades, Washington ruthlessly targeted Iran and its people. It continues relentlessly today. More on that below.

France’s Socialist Party government plans to force Roma into ghettos

Kumaran Ira

Romani people sit next to their luggage shortly after arriving
from France at the international airport in Bucharest.

France’s Socialist Party (PS) government has threatened to forcibly dismantle Roma encampments in France, raising the spectre of mass expulsions of Roma. It also announced plans to force the Roma into “integration villages.”

PS Interior Minister Manuel Valls is leading the campaign to close down Roma camps. On July 31 he told Europe1: “Prefects have a mission to dismantle Roma camps when there is a court ruling. Things are simple. Yes, when there is a court ruling the camps will be dismantled.”

While preparing measures to expel Roma, there are also plans to place them in the so-called “integration villages.” There, the Roma would be forced to remain in ultra-cheap prefabricated housing and monitored by state employees and security forces.

According to Le Monde, there are five villages and three more are under construction in Lille, the hometown of PS First Secretary and Lille mayor Martine Aubry. Under the guise of providing social support for Roma, the purpose of such “villages d’insertion” is to ghettoize the Roma population.

Valls’s campaign against the Roma is a clear expression of the reactionary character of PS government, which is continuing the persecution of Roma and other immigrants from the previous government of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In his speech in Grenoble on July 30,2010, President Nicolas Sarkozy called for dismantling Roma camps across France, penalizing families and stripping French citizenship from migrants. After his speech, Sarkozy’s government deported over 10,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. An estimated 15,000 Roma live in improvised housing encampments on the edges of major cities throughout France.

Israel obstructs the peace, and is paid handsomely for it

Jonathan Cook

The real obstacles to peace [are] Israel, its occupation and western complicity

Israel has barely put a foot right with the international community since its attack on Gaza more than three years ago provoked global revulsion.

The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including US President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalised human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country's Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

No wonder, then, that in poll after poll Israel ranks as one of the countries with the most negative influence on international affairs.

And yet, the lower Israel sinks in public estimation, the more generous western leaders are in handing out aid and special favours to their wayward ally. The past few days have been particularly shameless.

It was revealed last week that the European Union had approved a massive upgrade in Israel's special trading status, strengthening economic ties in dozens of different fields. The decision was a reversal of a freeze imposed in the wake of the Gaza attack of winter 2008.

Amnesty International pointed out that the EU was violating its own commitments in the European Neighbourhood Policy, which requires that, as a preferred trading partner, Israel respect international human rights, democratic values and its humanitarian obligations.

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