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Iran's Nuclear Threat
arts and media |
Friday May 12, 2006 19:21 by Chekov
An Irish Times editorial on May 1st laid out the various options open to the UN Security council for dealing with Iranís nuclear threat. These options ranged "from a solemn statement warning Iran to comply to consideration of sanctions or military force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter." The paper of record nailed its colours to the mast by favouring negotiations and UN action while declaring that "military action by the US outside UN auspices would be a dangerous folly."
A week later, on May 8th, the Irish Times published an opinion piece by US neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer, entitled "Iran nuclear ambitions aim to finish Hitler's work." Krauthammerís position is echoed by Republican senator John McCain, who was quoted in the Irish Times on May 1st warning that "the one thing worse than military action would be a nuclear-armed Iran."
On the face of it, this debate has been admirably open with space allocated to these markedly divergent opinions on how the West should respond to the threat. On one side we have sabre-rattling neo-conservatives talking up the threat and advocating war, on the other side we have moderate liberal opinion advocating negotiation and UN-led measures. The only problem is that the crisis itself is a transparent fabrication.
Krauthammer's piece noted that "the world has paid ample attention to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be destroyed." There is a certain truth to this, the Iranian president's speech which declared that "Israel must be wiped off the map" has been extensively reported around the world. The problem is that the Iranian president never said such a thing. The US-based Middle East Media Research Institute, gives the correct translation: "'Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise."
This quote directly followed references to regime changes in the Soviet Union and Iraq, making it quite clear that the Iranian president was calling for regime change in Israel rather than its elimination. Furthermore, the notion of Iran being a nuclear threat to the US and Israel requires one to engage in an Orwellian inversion of reality. Even if one is to believe that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, it is several years away from doing so and regardless of how sneaky we might consider them to be, they are unlikely to successfully evade the laws of physics.
The US and Israel are both nuclear powers with huge and growing arsenals of nuclear missiles. If Iran did develop a nuclear bomb, a first strike against either would be tantamount to suicide. Although the Iranian mullahs may be fanatical religious fundamentalists with a nasty anti-semitic streak, they have shown no inclination to commit military suicide by attacking the vastly superior military forces of the US and Israel in conventional war. It would make even less sense for them to do so on the vastly more skewed nuclear field.
Meanwhile, the US administration has refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in a unilateral attack on Iran. If Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, one can only assume that it is intended as a deterrant. The contrasting ways in which the US regime treated the rogue states of Iraq and North Korea over the last few years has highlighted the usefulness of such deterrants for any state that finds itself incurring the displeasure of the US. There is a nuclear threat in the world today that is driving proliferation, but itís not located in Tehran.
This article is Chekov Feeney's Newspaper Watch, which is a weekly column in the Village Magazine. This article appears in the current issue, dated May 11th to 17th which is not yet available on the village website. It is first published on the web here.