04 February 2013

Iran open to talks; Unfair labor practices of Whole Foods and United Natural Foods Incorporated

Monday, February 4, 2013

After a week of pause-inducing developments in Iran, the government has ostensibly tabled an option for open talks.  On the heels of the well-publicized launching, and subsequent questioning, of a monkey into space and the unveiling of a home-made stealth fighter plane, the Iranian Foreign Minister has intimated that the time has now become ripe for direct talks. 

Iran’s foreign minister says Iran is open to direct talks with the U.S. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran welcomes a renewed offer from the United States for direct talks on its nuclear program. Salehi's statement came on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference a day after Vice President Joe Biden said the United States is ready to hold bilateral talks "when the Iranian leadership, Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] is serious."

Salehi said that the United States should show an "authentic, fair and real intention to resolve the issue" and should stop making threats against Iran while offering negotiations. As foreign minister, Salehi does not have the authority to commit to talks with the United States, which is a decision made by the supreme leader, and western officials remain skeptical. Iran has repeatedly backed out of talks, and while Salehi said Iran looks favorably upon a proposal for another round of talks with the United Nations Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany on February 25 and 26 in Kazakhstan, it has not yet committed to sending a delegation.

If talks do resume at the end of February, it would mean the end to eight months of stalled diplomacy.

In the meantime, there's plenty for the morality police to monitor in the coffee shops of Tehran as many women have been feeling a little too comfortable in the dark vestiges of caffeine hangouts.  Loosing the hijab is still a punishable offense.

In other Iranian news, there may be a reason why those typically reliable email responses from Tehran have recently dried up.  There is a campaign underway to align Pres. Obama with an ancient villain of Islam.  The propaganda serves to act as a deterrent for those who may be tempted to communicate with Americans.  The advertizing campaign along with recent crackdowns on foreign journalists are indicative of the growing concerns over near-crippling sanctions.

Exposed: How Whole Foods and the Biggest Organic Foods Distributor Are Screwing Workers

United Natural Foods Incorporated, the largest wholesale distributor of organic and “natural” foods in the U.S., is currently under investigation for 45 violations of federal labor law.
According to a petition circulated by the International Labor Rights Forum, "In spite of record profits, United Natural Foods, Inc. has committed multiple violations of federal law including the unlawful replacement of workers at its distribution center in Seattle."

The petition has a relatively simple compelling refrain of a plea:
 Join us in calling on UNFI and Whole Foods to:
  • STOP promoting food conglomerates at the expense of small and local producers.
  • STOP undermining the organic standard in favor of the vague “natural foods” tag.
  • STOP putting profits over protections for working families


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