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Iran Looming Larger in the Crosshairs

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


What is the biggest current issue we are facing in the Middle East? Whether exaggerated or not, whether even an honest concern or not, it is without doubt Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons development project.


Recent Gallup Poll shows that the American people surveyed now consider Iran as the biggest threat to our security. How did the American people reach such conclusion? Well, just look at the news. The average Joe and Jane public watch television, read newspapers and listens to radio talk shows. Joe and Jane know that they live in an open democracy and that, unlike other people around the world, they are not subjected to state propaganda and disinformation; so, why be skeptical?


Joe and Jane cannot accept that it is exactly in this environment of comforting self-delusion where the corporate sponsored and state supported media can best manipulate the public mind-set and generate the necessary consent in order to pursue their agendas. We are told that Iran is the biggest threat to global peace and security; the Iranians are actively developing nuclear weapons, and once they have the bomb, they will attack Israel, blackmail the rest of the free world in their ambitious dreams of global Islamification.


Joe and Jane see no reason to question these assertions. What’s more, even if they did have any doubts, they have neither the time to do any investigative research on their own, nor the background or the education and exposure about global issues to understand and evaluate the data.


So, when you ask the average public voter why Iran would want to terrorize the planet if it would mean their own devastation before they could even start; the answer is easy: don’t you know, they’re just crazy! Besides; who cares………O, wait; did you see the MaCartneys on the Larry King Show on CNN the other night? Those poor little harp seal pups, so cute! Isn’t that a shame? Naturally, the fate of millions of human beings is of relatively little concern, as we noticed while the Hutu and Tutsi mobs were clubbing each other to death – just like the harp seal pups – and the world stood by. They weren’t nearly as “cute” as the baby seals, were they?


Let’s see what is currently going on about the so-called Iranian threat:


The International Atomic Energy Agency is currently deliberating Iran’s case for possible referral to the Security Council. The United States and Israel insist on and expect severe economic sanctions against Iran, as a result.


Iran continues to insist that its nuclear energy activities are for peaceful purposes, as guaranteed under the Non Proliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory. And, to this date the IAEA has found no evidence of any consequential violation of this treaty by Iran. But because of suspicions that Iran might be up to no good, the US and Israel demand that Iran should be denied certain of their guaranteed rights in the NPT bylaws. Interestingly, Israel is not a signatory to NPT, and has clandestinely developed a gigantic nuclear arsenal, and the United States has remained in violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty by continuing to test and develop new nuclear weapons.


More significantly, the President’s recent trip to India and Pakistan has created new paradoxes in this international nuclear shell-game.  Both India and Pakistan refused to sign the NPT and have developed nuclear bombs, initially to our horror, because of the prospects of a new nuclear arms race in the region as a whole.


Now we are courting India and signing additional nuclear cooperation agreements with that state, because we need India’s friendship if our concerns regarding China come to bear. In Pakistan, General Mosharraf’s friendship is deemed crucial in our war on Al-Qa’eda, for now, anyway. So, we simply overlook the fact that the Pakistani regime was regarded as one of most repressive and anti-democratic regimes in the world, and Pakistan was and is the breeding grounds  for most anti-West and anti-American sentiments in the Islamic world. And, yes; now they have atomic bombs and means of delivery. But, we are not worried or concerned; we are worried and concerned about Iran!!! I wonder why.


Well, AIPAC has just ended its three-day annual policy meeting at their headquarters in Washington DC.


The first day, Sunday March 5th, was devoted to the main focus: the Iranian threat, “How the International Community Can Stop Iran.” The opening speaker was John Bolton, America’s permanent representative in the United Nations.


Among other dignitaries who took turns making their presentations during the three-day assembly were:

  • Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States
  • Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
  • Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Congressman John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader
  • John Edwards, Former Senator from North Carolina
  • Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House
  • Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
  • Richard Perle, Resident Fellow, the American Enterprise Institute


Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and that the international community will impose "meaningful consequences" if Tehran persists in its alleged pursuit of an atomic bomb.


In his address at AIPAC in Washington, Cheney said the United States is keeping all options open to deal with what he called the "irresponsible conduct" of Iranian leaders.


Israel simply hates to see any Islamic or Middle Eastern state gain the capability to challenge its military superiority and invincibility. That’s quite understandable.


And, of course, we cannot criticize Israel and its political arm in the United States, AIPAC, for promoting the Israeli agendas; they are not doing anything illegal, (except when they do get involved in espionage as has recently been revealed and now conveniently pushed under the rug.)


But, it is rather surprising, to put it mildly, and alarming, to be more honest, that the political lobby of a tiny state half-way around the globe has created such clout in the most powerful country


In one of my previous writings I addressed the issue of Iran’s options in the face of this increasing threats from the United States and Israel, now seemingly orchestrated in accompaniment by the chief EU members.


“IRAN’S OPTIONS:  Roll over and capitulate, stand up in daring defiance, or stay at the poker table.


If the choice were to be between the first two options, good Islamic tradition would point to the direction that the Iranian President Ahmadinejad seems to have adopted. It’s been attributed to Imam Ali, the Prophet of Islam’s son-in-law and nephew, as having said that there are two days in which one should not worry about dying; the day that one is destined to die, and the day that one is not.


In this fatalistic tradition, Iran will never choose to cower and bow to pressure and insult; pagan, Zoroastrian, Islamic or secular, that has never been the Iranian way. So, what remains of Iran’s alternatives is the choice between arrogant defiance and shrewd diplomacy. It seems as though Iran is trying both options at the same time; the former being integrated as a tool for the latter.”


Iran is also concerned, just like Israel, about its own security that has been under threats by the United States and Israel for decades. It is also interested in developing its nuclear industry as promised to it for being a signatory to the NPT.  There is also the matter of prestige or national dignity when faced with pressure from the likes of Israel to forsake what Iran regards as its rightful, inalienable rights.


To be realistic, Iran should, in fact, be interested in developing the technology that enable it to build atomic weapons as a deterrent, should the need arise. And, the need seems to be looking at Iran in face these days. Look at North Korea and how it has managed to keep itself out of harms way by simply claiming that it has a nuclear bomb, a claim that we cannot comfortably disprove at this time.


But, if we do not want a new nuclear arms race, the saner strategy would be to reduce or eliminate the incentive behind it by insisting on a program of disarmament, at least on a regional scale in the Middle East theater.


If the aim is truly to improve the lot of the Iranian people and not the imposition of another tyrannical compliant state as before, imposing sever economic sanctions or an outright attack would prove counterproductive.


What has prevented Iran from its natural transition from its early revolutionary phase toward greater openness, moderation and democratic reforms, has been its economic stagnation and threats against its security from the outside. Both factors, economic pressures and security threats, have contributed to the solidarity among the disadvantaged silent majorities and further legitimized the position and authority of the hard-line religious conservatives.


We can see similar trends here in the United States, where continuous threats of terrorism against our safety and security, whether realistic or exaggerated, seem to justify huge budgets and implementation of more measures that limit the cherished individual freedoms of a paranoid and frightened public.


Could it be that we, in fact, do not want a free, democratic and prosperous Iran, after all?


Why, an independent Iran might use its leverage to bolster its own internal security and regional influence, sell its energy resources to the highest bidder, perhaps China, or opt for the euro instead of the dollar for its foreign trade. We wouldn’t like that; would we?


But, what is the best incentive to convince someone to do one’s bidding? In the long-term, it is by demonstrating that what we want is better for them, as well, that they can expect to share in our gains; the true American way in the old tradition.


There remains only one last thing to mull over before we take any action toward confrontation with Iran, or opting for reconciliation: let’s make sure whatever we do is ultimately for our own benefit and not for the sake of foreign influence peddlers who have everything to gain and nothing to lose by dragging us, again, into ever deeper and more perilous quagmires.



... Payvand News - 3/9/06 ... --

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