New York

Morning Report 8/12/05Access of Evil


Playing deadly games: Cheney and Iran’s top nuke negotiator

Boardroom game: Above is a detail of Dick Cheney from Trouble Maker, by New York artist Wendy Cook.  After witnessing the 9/11 horror from up close and seeing the Bush regime’s reaction to it, Cook started playing her own games with pretzel logic and toy soldiers.

You’d think that this creepy nuclear-weapons battle between the U.S. and Iran would bring out the best in the U.S. press. After all, the war is still only words, for the present, and shouldn’t we kinda, sorta, you know, keep it that way?

Nevertheless, the key political fact about Halliburton’s (and thus, Dick Cheney‘s) business dealings with chief Iran negotiator Cyrus Nasseri—I wrote about it August 9, and I was hardly the first—is missing once again from this morning’s New York Times story. And from the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, as well.

If only Halliburton’s Iran subsidiary were based in Aruba, instead of the Cayman Islands. Maybe then, Nancy Grace and the rest of the TV journalism crew would cover what Paul Sampson of London-based Energy Compass calls Halliburton’s “fancy legal footwork” so the company can deal with a member of the Cheney regime’s “axis of evil.” (Check out 60 Minutes“Doing Business With the Enemy.”)

This morning, the Times even ran a photo of Nasseri, who’s an influential member of the board of Oriental Kish, the Iranian oil company with extensive—and recent—dealings with Halliburton. The latter firm, as we know, still pays ex-CEO Cheney a regular check.

The funniest part of this charade, though, is a passage in this morning’s L.A. Times story:

[Nasseri] also accused the [International Atomic Energy Agency] of applying a double standard that allows major powers, including the United States, to possess weapons-grade nuclear material while depriving developing nations even limited quantities.

A double standard? Us?

Actually, Nasseri and Cheney have a lot in common. Both of them have the support of their countries’ ruling religious nuts. We already know about the Cheney regime’s unholy alliance with the religious right. As for Nasseri’s links to his country’s religious right, the Financial Times reported in January:

Iranian officials and analysts, who asked not to be named, said Mr Naseri, a former ambassador to Geneva and a negotiator of the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, had a close relationship with Iran’s clerical establishment.

In addition, both men’s companies face continuing allegations of major corruption. The Iran Press Service reported in late July that officials of Oriental Kish were arrested for collaborating with the enemy. the Fars news agency, controlled by Iran’s mullahs, took the action, but not yet against Nasseri himself. As the Iran Press Service put it:

Quoting judiciary sources, the agency had expressed concern that close cooperation and collaboration between Mr. Nasseri, who as a senior nuclear negotiator is in possession of important strategic information in the one hand with Mr. Dick Cheney could be dangerous for Iranian strategic interests.

The news was immediately confirmed by Baztab, an internet news site belonging to Mr. Mohsen Reza’i, the Secretary of the Expediency Council, hoping that the move could cut the hands of the “oil mafia.”

They call them “oil mafia.” We call them bidnessmen.

Maybe Cheney was talking about the woes of his friends at Oriental Kish when he said on January 20:

“You look around the world at potential trouble spots; Iran is right at the top of the list.”

Archive Highlights