By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times Online
April 11, 2012

Former United States president George W Bush issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein before bombing and invading Iraq.

Nine years later, US President Barack Obama has issued an ultimatum to the leadership in Tehran before … setting optimal conditions for an “all options on the table” exercise.

Obama has made an offer to Tehran to “negotiate” its nuclear program – ahead of long-delayed talks between the “Iran Six” (P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France – plus Germany) and Iran scheduled for Istanbul on Saturday.

For starters, it’s not an offer; it’s a list of demands – even before any negotiation takes place. And these “near term” concessions are packaged – according to the president’s own rhetoric – as a “last chance”.

In modern times, this used to be known as an ultimatum. In the post-everything era, it passes for “international diplomacy”.

Obama wants Tehran to shut down and in fact destroy the Fordow enrichment plant, built under a mountain outside the holy city of Qom; he wants Tehran to definitely renounce and “surrender” its entire stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%; to stop any sort of enrichment, even to harmless 5% (which means Iran renouncing its whole civilian nuclear program, to which it has a right according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ); to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors full access to all Iranian nuclear sites (they already have it); and to let the inspectors talk to all top Iranian nuclear scientists (that’s not exactly possible; quite a few have been assassinated by Israel’s Mossad).

So welcome to the “roll over and die” school of diplomacy – as perfected by the Obama administration, with vital input from the Israel lobby in Washington. It’s our way of the highway. And the highway is to hell – to the sound of “Bomb Bomb Iran”.

Another war for the 1%

No wonder the proverbial “Israeli officials” are delighted that Iran – via its Foreign Ministry – has rejected all these demands as “irrational”; for Tel Aviv, the Iranian response is “good”.

“Good” means the list of demands spells out the inevitable failure of the talks – which is the core of the Israeli strategy. Afterwards Obama may (will) use the failure as the perfect excuse to apply even harsher sanctions – and who knows what else.

The whole Israeli official apparatus for months have been brainwashing Israeli, American and European public opinion for war on Iran by all means necessary – manipulating everything from a nonsensical “existential threat” to the coming of a “second Holocaust”.

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