TV: Pro-Palestinian protesters who blocked Bay Area highways, bridges & Israel vs. Iran

KTVU-TV Fox, April 15, 2024: From Oakland television station KTVU this past Monday, in which I discuss pro-Palestinian protesters who blocked Bay Area highways and bridges as well as Israel’s confrontation with Iran. (I come in at about the one-minute mark.) “Over the weekend, Iran launched drone and missile attacks in response to a suspected Israeli strike that killed two Iranian generals in Syria two weeks ago. The Israeli military says it was able to intercept 99% of the missiles, but it will respond quote “at the time that we choose”. KTVU’s Alex Savidge and Heather Holmes speak with Middle Eastern Policy Expert and University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes about the situation…” [Source Link]

Iran can gain politically by de-escalating

Al Jazeera Analysis April 15, 2024:

(Scroll down that page 2/3).
Dr. Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, said the US is trying to “calm things” in the Middle East following Iran’s retaliatory attacks against Israel.
While the US has “allowed Israel to engage in some pretty horrific war crimes against the Palestinians”, expanding to an international conflict of this magnitude, especially against a relatively powerful opponent like Iran is something the US will try and prevent, he said.
For the Israelis, however, there are more “hawkish elements” at play, he said. This includes Netanyahu looking to have the international community focus on Israel versus Iran, where he can garner more sympathy compared with Israel versus the Palestinians.
The Iranian regime, at this point, can gain politically by not escalating, Zunes added.
Israel’s actions in the war on Gaza, with US support, have alienated many non-Western nations and made them less likely to normalize relations with Israel, he said.”

Interview: To the Brink of War with No Upside Podcast, January 17, 2020:
Download the MP3 or Read the Full Transcript
Middle East scholar Stephen Zunes debunks the Trump administration’s changing rationale for assassinating Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s response, and the risk of war. Among his intriguing claims:

  • Too little is said about Democrats’ role  in the hostilities
  • The exact same beefs the US has with Iran apply equally to many American allies
  • Evidence does not support Trump’s key assertions about the Iranian general whose death he ordered.

Interview: Today’s US-Iran Crisis Is Rooted in the Decision to Invade Iraq

Truthout January 20, 2020 also at
The ramifications of the illegal, unnecessary and predictably tragic U.S. decision to invade Iraq are still with us. This includes the ongoing crisis with Iran, which brought us perilously close to all-out war in early January, resulted in the tragic downing of a civilian airliner and remains in a hair-trigger situation. [FULL LINK]

Interview: Proof that Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans is “groundless” says Middle East expert

WMNF FM January 10. 2020: The claim that General Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by Republicans, some Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless, according to Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. His new piece for The Progressive Magazine says there is zero evidence Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans…
Listen here or Download the MP3 audio file..

There Is Zero Actual Evidence Iran Is Responsible for Killing Hundreds of Americans, January 7, 2020 & Republished by:, and (Fresno)
The assertions being repeated today seem based on apparently groundless claims from twelve years ago by the same people who said Iraq possessed weapons, weapons programs, and weapons systems that were such a grave threat that they ignited the U.S.-Iraq war… [Full Article]

Trump’s Threats towards Iran Aren’t Working. Here’s Why.

The Progressive, July 17, 2019: The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions against more than 1,000 Iranian entities, including Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, targeting almost every significant sector of that nation’s economy. But recently it reversed course, backing off its threat to sanction a top Iranian diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in response to concerns that it would foreclose any diplomatic recourse… [Full Article]

Also Dr. Zunes’ interview July 22, 2019 on KBOO
US Conflict with Iran: an anti-imperialist analysis

Bill Resnick interviews Stephen Zunes on the ongoing U.S. conflict with Iran, comparing Iran’s politics to Saudi Arabia, our “great ally”.

Pompeo’s Iran Speech a Prelude to War?

The Progressive, May 23, 2018 The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech this past Monday targeting Iran may have created a new benchmark for hypocritical, arrogant, and entitled demands by the United States on foreign governments. It included gross misstatements regarding the seven-nation Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, which Trump Administration unilaterally abrogated earlier this month. More critically, it promised to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” against Iran… [Full Link]

Trump’s Dangerous Abrogation of the Iran Deal

The Progressive, May 9, 2018
The Trump Administration’s decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States—strikes a dangerous blow against arms control and international security and even more firmly establishes the United States as a rogue nation. [Full Link]

Republicans, Democrats alike still level threats at Iran

National Catholic Reporter, August 15, 2016
(Also in the Huffington Post and Common Dreams)

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal should have curbed the longstanding bellicose rhetoric coming from Republican and Democratic political leaders toward the Muslim country. Signed by Iran and six other nations (including the United States) and ratified by the United Nations Security Council, the comprehensive agreement contains strict provisions limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities to well below the threshold necessary to develop atomic weapons and subjects Iran to the most rigorous inspection regime in history. The result has been dramatically reduced regional tensions and the elimination of any potential threat to U.S. national security. Despite this, the Republican and Democratic platforms adopted at their respective conventions last month are both more belligerent toward Iran than they were four years ago. [Full Link]

Hardliners on All Sides Undermining Iran’s Nuclear Talks

The Progressive & Common Dreams, April 5, 2015
Reaching an interim nuclear deal with Iran would have been difficult enough even without hardliners in both Iran and the US seeking to undermine them. Many US critics of the draft treaty deny this, however, naively assuming Iran is as weak as it was several decades ago, when foreigner powers could impose policies and even replace governments at will. Not only have such imperialist intrigues become more difficult overall, the reality is that Iran has, for better or worse, reemerged as a major regional power—as it has been for much of the past two and half millennia. If President Obama and other Western leaders could dictate terms of a nuclear agreement, they certainly would. They realize they cannot, however. [FULL LINK]

Netanyahu Still Swaying U.S. Congress

[The Progressive March 4, 2015]: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3 was rare and unprecedented in many ways.
• It constituted a major breach of protocol
• It took place just two weeks prior to national elections in the foreign leader’s home country
• Most strikingly, Netanyahu is the only foreign leader to have been invited to address a joint session of Congress with the express purpose of undermining U.S. foreign policy… [FULL LINK]

Congress vs. Obama on Iran: Washington’s Warmongers Take Aim At Iran Diplomacy

[Foreign Policy In Focus, “Z” & Alternet] Hardliners in Tehran are not happy with the recent rapprochement between the United States and Iran and the related progress in negotiations to address Western concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. But the bigger threat may come from hardliners in the Washington, including prominent Democrats. As the first step in a de-escalation deal whose details have yet to be worked out, Iran would agree to strict safeguards to prevent the enrichment of uranium to a degree that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons. In return, the US would agree to a partial lifting of economic sanctions. Further lessening of sanctions would be dependent on further Iranian concessions. A bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill is pushing legislation that would make such an interim agreement impossible.
[See the FPIF LINK, or Alternet, and the follow-up op-ed, Congress seeks to undermine Obama’s rapprochement with Iran
in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Nov. 15, 2013.

Restless Nation: The Real Meaning of Iran’s Elections

[YES!, and Blog, August 13, 2013] Iran inaugurated its new president, Hassan Rouhani—clearly the most moderate candidate in the running. This outcome illustrates the growing desire for change among the people of Iran. The situation resembles Eastern Europe in the 1970s: The people are not yet at a point where they can bring down the regime, but the ideological hegemony that kept the system intact is gone. Just as Eastern European workers recognized that the system under which they were suffering bore little resemblance to its professed socialist ideology, Iranian Muslims—even those who support the Islamic Revolution in principle—are recognizing that the “Islamic Republic” is a poor reflection of both Islamic values and a republican system… a hopeful sign for the future of Iran and of U.S.-Iranian relations. [FULL LINK]