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Response to Committee on Homeland Defense: Iran's Nuclear Program

By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich


Messrs. Gingrich, Takeyh, Samore, Berman, Woolsey, and D'Amato:  If indeed Iran's true intentions were to acquire nuclear bombs, as you charge, it would not place itself in the international spotlight - it would simply pursue bombs without the 'energy' program.  History has shown us that having an operating nuclear power reactor is no longer a prerequisite, or even a necessary condition of obtaining fissile material which can be used for the development of nuclear materials.  South Africa was able to develop five nuclear bombs without having a nuclear energy program.



The six aforementioned experts hold the common belief that:


1.                     Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb under the pretext of a nuclear energy program , specifically why decline the Russian proposal,

2.                     it intends to 'wipe Israel off the map',

3.                     is the biggest threat to the US,  it supports international terrorism (namely Hezbollah).


While each has stated additional and distinct statements which will be addressed individually, the common concerns will be focused on first.


Pursuing a Nuclear Bomb - Mr. Takeyh himself, in a radio interview with Steve Inskeep of the National Public Radio (NPR) -  Morning Edition. (25 Nov. 2004) stated that 75-80% of the Iranians rallied behind the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of its nuclear program, including the full fuel cycle.  For the first time in its 26-year history, the theocratic regime of Iran has successfully managed to unite the people behind the nuclear program which has given them leverage to bargain with the Big Three Europeans: France, Germany, and Great Britain.   This is not something that the IRI will give up.  It is a catastrophic mistake to attribute this political domestic gain to bomb-making ambitions.  The IRI is fighting for legitimacy of rule which it has thus far been able to 'maintain' by force.


The Contradictions of the Russian Proposal - The Nunn-Lugar program went into effect after the end of the Cold War to help secure and destroy Russia's (old Soviet Union) Weapons of Mass destruction and to ensure that they do not fall into terrorist hands.  Millions of American taxpayer dollars went into this program, and continue to this day to assure the security of 'loose nukes'.  Further, there is a real and continuing fear of 'brain drain' - that is old Soviet scientists that worked in nuclear labs and who, out of a job, may be tempted to work for unfriendly/rogue states.  The EU-3 and the Unites States' proposal will create more burden on the overtaxed Russian system, thus creating an opportunity for 'terrorists'. 


Enriched uranium is all that is needed for a 'dirty bomb'.  North Korea was able to acquire enriched uranium with mundane centrifuges and other technologies to constitute the critical mass needed for a low-yield "dirty" bomb.  It would seem that America's concerns over lax Russian security are of no consequence if it means castrating Iran's nationhood.


Wiping Israel off the Map -  Ahmadinejad ran on a campaign slogan he was unable to deliver.  He wanted to spread the oil money, but from the onset, his choice for the ministerial job was rejected.  His debut on a world stage brought him humiliation overseas and rebuke at home.  Undoubtedly, he was faced with more hurdles than what he had bargained for.  He did the most single thing a clever politician would do.  Diversionary tactic!  It is a safe bet to assume that his rhetoric was meant for domestic consumption, but he miscalculated the weight of his rhetoric as a president.  Ahmadinejad had hoped that if he instilled hatred towards America and Israel, the people would forget his campaign promises.  Politics 101.


Let us assume a different scenario - that he was gearing up his followers for an 'annihilation', a war with Israel.  This would only be in preparation and in reaction to the war plans against Iran that had been going on for some time.   One must not forget that in September of 2004, the United States sold Israel 5000 hi-tech bombs including 500 "bunker-busters"[1].  One must also recall the fiasco at the Pentagon.  Mr. Franklin who worked for a time as a senior analyst on Iran under Douglas Feith, a former under secretary at the Pentagon, once caught confessed in court that he believed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists had access and influence at the National Security Council, which coordinates policy issues for the president and was deeply involved in setting the administration's course on Iran. 


Not only was foreign policy being formulated to take a harsh stand toward Iran, but constantly Iran was being faced with threats of a surgical strike by Israel, a military strike by the U.S., and  Cheney, Rice and President Bush to this day have maintained "all options are on the table".  American unmanned drones have been violating Iranian airspace in order to spot targets.  This is clearly an act of aggression and a preemption to war.  To call Iran a threat to Israel and the US when clearly Iran has been far more passive in deed, is politically motivated. 


Biggest Threat to Israel - Supports Terrorism, Hezbollah, etc.


The United States must separate its national interest and foreign policy from other nations, Israel in particular.  It does not assess terrorism objectively, rather subjectively, that of Israel's viewpoint.  Until such time that enough officials and politicians have the courage to voice this naked truth and act upon it, the US will not be in a position to formulate a solid foreign policy that serves its best interest. 


Nor must those who are in power in this country, serve Israel's interest before that of the US due to their religious ideology or ethnic ties.  In the words of Woodrow Wilson:


"The Founding Fathers have warned against the evils of the politics of factions, especially in the conduct of foreign relations."   President Wilson had proposed an "infallible test" for the hyphenated American that, so that in spite of maintaining affections for the old country, when voting or fighting, the heart and mind are centered around America".


This applies to all 'hyphenated' Americans, however, very few gain such positions of power to affect American foreign policy. 


Although Hezbollah has committed acts of terror at its inception, it is now a legitimate political organization and with parliamentary seats.  One must bear in mind that Nelson Mandela, the winner of Noble Peace Prize, was also labeled a terrorist.  It was at a time when he was not able to achieve progress with peaceful means, though not from lack of trying..  He has gained the respect of the world today.  There have been no obstacles in his path to becoming a respectable member of society.  However, Israel would like to see Hezbollah disarmed - hence the political clout, and the label which still sticks to Hezbollah, although in spite of pressure from the U.S., Europe refused to brand them as terrorist.


As for other terrorists that Iran allegedly supports, while it is true that Iran had sent a shipment of arms to PLA, which brought Iran much condemnation, one must remember that Yasser Arafat was an elected head of a 'democracy'.  Much in the same manner, Mahmoud Abbas is the elected head of that same democracy today.  When Russian President Vladimir Putin gave helicopters to Mahmoud Abbas so that the Palestinian Authority could fight terrorism [2], no body rushed to call Russia 'state-sponsor of terrorism.  Perhaps size does matter.  If a state is big and powerful, it can support and do whatever it chooses without being second-guessed.


Newt Gingrich finds Hezbollah in Lebanon "the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world".  Why did America go bombing Afghanistan - worse still, Iraq?  How many have been killed?  We are way off the target.  We should have killed the Lebanese!


Mr. D'Amato repeatedly refers to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - He is perhaps unaware that in 2005 Congress allocated $9M specifically for violating Article VI of the NPT.  For the first time in nearly 20 years, U.S. nuclear weapons labs are drawing up plans for new atomic bombs. The work would completely transform the country's nuclear arsenal [3].  This is what Mr. D'Amato refers as the "Center of our foreign policy" - Clear and dangerous violation of International obligations.


Mr. James Woolsey, who served as the Director of the CIA, would make Tenet proud with his misrepresentation of facts -  Mr. Woolsey omits that the highly enriched uranium (HEU) he refers to was traced back to Pakistan -  As for the Laptop saga (the Broad/Sanger article he refers to), David Albright, , head of the U.S.-based Institute for Science and International Security said the report was "off the mark". 


As for wishing to work with Iranian opposition groups - Let us not forget that the CIA did, in 1953.  Whether the regime in Iran is changed, or it changes, it must be done  without foreign influence.  What the CIA lacks in accurate intelligence gathering, it makes up for in the art of  torture, and undoubtedly it will be successful in its new 'Black Hole' endeavors; however, let us not trust our foreign policy formulation to them.


Ilen Berman's testimony is inundated with misleading words such as "may', 'suggests', 'could', 'if', 'perhaps', 'can be expected', 'potential', and so on.  This is the language that took America to war with Iraq.   Suggestive wording with lethal effect; a President can use them to take the country to war, yet have a scapegoat to blame for poor interpretation of facts.  The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), with a Czar at its head, will give them the go ahead to pull the trigger based on "maybe" Iran's missiles have the "potential" to reach our interests -


In conclusion, should the American public continue pouring money into the overburdened and unsafe Russian system in the hopes of securing nuclear materials when the world at large, including America's own President is demanding that such threatening substances be made more accessible to terrorists?


Should we, the citizens of this county, allocate $9 million to violating the NPT when we have invaded Iraq for its non-existent 'violation' and we are once again threatening another nation for its alleged non-compliance?


Is it in our country's interest to continue our war on terror while we support terrorist organizations such as the Mojahedeen-e Khalg (MEK) in Iraq and roll a red carpet for their representatives in Washington by making them our spy masters? 


OR, Senators of the Committee:


As a nation of Christians, led by a newborn Christian, would our foreign policy not be best formulated if we first removed the splinter from our own eye before attempting to remove the log from our neighbors?



... Payvand News - 11/23/05 ... --

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