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The same polls that accurately predicted Rohani’s narrow win also show that sanctions had little to do with it. Iranians continue to blame the West, not their own government, for sanctions. And they do not want their leaders to compromise on what they see as their country’s sovereignty and national rights—rights manifest today in Iran’s pursuit of a civil nuclear program.
Replacing Western-imposed monarchical rule with an indigenously generated political model integrating participatory politics and elections with principles and institutions of Islamic governance, these strengths have enabled the Islamic Republic to withstand sustained regional and Western pressure, and to pursue a foreign policy strategy likely to reap big payoffs in 2014.
The Americans cannot overthrow Assad or kill him. If they do, the chemical weapons deal would stop and the open door with Iran would close. There would be a major problem with Russia and China who have not gotten over the international fraud involved in overthrowing the Libyan regime and killing Moammar Gadhafi. Most dangerous is that no one knows how the Syrian army and its allies would react.
Interview with John Mearsheimer
To neutralize a site means either the physical destruction of the site or functional disruption. In the Iranian case, with its advance rebuilding expertise and experience, the difference between physical destruction and functional disruption may not be large in terms of the time it would take for the same level of activity can be restored. Given Iran's expected ability to reestablish its nuclear program after absorbing an attack, an assessment of the time period for which it is halted will be necessary. Intelligence will also need to assess the operational requirements to take out the sites. The uranium enrichment facility at Fordow, built into a mountain, would be particularly difficult to penetrate. Former Defense Minister Ehud Barak once called it “immune to standard bombs.” The enrichment facility in Natanz is also heavily fortified. The complex is underground, covered by layers of concrete and metal, and is protected by Russian-made surface-to-air missiles. Intelligence will need to assess the vulnerabilities of these sites and whether the IDF has the capability to take them out for a sufficient period of time.
The US State Department released something yesterday, saying Ukraine should move more towards a more parliamentary system instead of the strong presidential system, and this is the same week that President Obama in the State of the Union address said: “Well, if congress does not go along with these laws that I plan on pass, I’m going to start ruling by the executive order.” So it is quite ironic.
Mount Sinabung's morning eruption was followed by a more powerful blast that sent lava and pyroclastic flows down southern slopes up to 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) away