By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse
Even though there was a lot on my plate as far as the high-intensity hype regarding Iran to comment about, I had to wait until after President Ahmadinejad's UN address, followed the next day by Netanyahu, to start this article.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel addresses the General Assembly.
UN Photo/J Carrier
Before his UN appearance, Mr. Ahmadinejad had appeared for a few interviews, including with Piers Morgan on CNN, and Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell on CBS. He was rather aggressively interrogated by hosts in attempts to put him on the defensive; a typical media strategy aimed against the Iranian leader, something that they would never dare do with the corporate media darling, Mr. Netanyahu. Much to the obvious shock and disappointment of the "inquisitors", Mr. Ahmadinejad did not react furiously as anticipated but, instead, responded calmly and definitively.
He was asked about his views regarding a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. He said, referring to Israel's decision makers as Zionists: "The Zionists are very, very adventuresome, seeking to fabricate things, and I think they see themselves at the end of the line and I do firmly believe that they seek to create new opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors."
CBS "This Morning" co-hosts Norah O'Donnell and Charlie Rose asked the Iranian President to comment on his unending hostile rhetoric regarding Israel. Before he finished his response by saying: "Can one country [Israel] decide, based only on their own private opinion, and establish a red line for another country and then threaten attacks? When have we threatened to attack the Zionists? We have never threatened them.." Charlie hurriedly interrupted him by jumping almost out of his seat, repeating the same old accusation against Ahmadinejad for "wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map."
Ahmadinejad was clearly anticipating that comment, when he gently shook his head and mumbled, "Here we go again", before responding:"Let me explain ... We say that occupation should be done away with. War-like behavior should be done away with.Terrorism should be done away with. The killing of women and children should be done away with. Has the Zionist regime done anything other than this during the last 65 years? No, they haven't." [Emphasis mine.]
Well, I watched Ahmadinejad's United Nations address live, and downloaded the full text of his speech in Farsi as well as its official translation in English for comparison and evaluation: The translated text was excellent! There was only one small glitch: When Ahmadinejad commented that the "uncivilized Zionists" threaten to attack Iran, the word he had used in Farsi was bih-farhang, which actually means uncultured. Of course, he could have used the word bih-tamadon, which literally means uncivilized.
Either way, I think Mr. Ahmadinejad was actually wrong about what he believes civilized behavior in today's world is. Whether we talk about human culture or civilization, we are actually referring to an ever changing and evolving condition that, as used by itself without a modifier, characterizes the general state of human societies at any given time.
Self-serving, aggressive and merciless behavior is now the norm, rather than the exception, among all so-called great civilizations of today's world. So, the Zionists' behavior is actually quite "civilized" based on today's terminology. They actually claim "modernity" versus medievalism when they compare themselves with the "lower" classes of mankind. They constantly proclaim their ethos that they value life over death, as compared to the Islamic societies, without clarifying that claim to actually mean they prefer their own lives at the expense of everybody else's deaths! And, of course, the Zionists' version of peace is peace only in their own terms. So what's unusual or "uncivilized" about that, Mr. Ahmadinejad?
In listening to or reading his speech, I couldn't find anything in President Ahmadinejad's address that wouldn't stand to scrutiny. His talk was very general and wide-reaching in scope, greatly idealized and with a utopian vision of how things should be. He condemned the rampant domination and exploitation of the globe by a few centers of power, and condoned peace, fairness and equality among all mankind. Well, Dalai Lama or Jimmy Carter could have said the same things; that's not a goose laying a golden egg! Or, as the Farsi expression goes, a chicken that just laid a double-yoked egg.
He also talked about the need for restructuring the United Nations and the Security Council to make this world forum a better functioning body at the service of all mankind instead of yet another tool for superpower manipulations.
In short, I couldn't find anything in Ahmadinejad's unusually "civil" delivery that I could criticize, perhaps with one exception: I couldn't understand his condemnation of "superstitions" as a negative force while invoking the intervention of Jesus Christ the Messiah, and Imam Mahdi, to save the world, hand-in-hand, from chaos. Perhaps the word superstition was used to refer to certain evangelical Zionists who have been advocating anti-Islamic sentiments or worse, an attack on Iran in support of Israel, in order to fulfill some vague and creatively interpreted Biblical prophesies!
I also watched live broadcast of the Israeli PM, Netanyahu on Thursday, almost certain that all the prediction that Bibi couldn't be held back from demanding the world powers (meaning the United States) to set a definite Red-Line against Iran's nuclear developments, at which time military options would be exercised, would prove wrong. I was right! He did not.
Unlike Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu did not dwell on vague, unachievable utopian dreams. His statements and claims were absolutely definitive and forcefully delivered, always followed by ovations and applause. I really think there should be some kind of an Oscar or similar award given to character actors who can so convincingly engage in historical fabrications, lies and false claims and accusations as does this man. He is a master of Chutzpa! He lies and fabricates while everyone, friend and foe alike, knows he is a liar.
He said a lot of untruths about history, and lied shamelessly about the Palestinians and the peace process. But his artistry in deception truly took the center stage when he began talking about Iran.
Without doubt, everyone was fully expecting the Israeli Prime Minister to accuse Iran of all kinds of evil doings as the Number-One promoter and supporter on international terrorism, etc. And, as he has done routinely, he calls Iran a definite threat to, not just Israel, but Europe and even the United States. Now, he warned, imagine this global demon armed with nuclear weapons!
That was all expected of the Israeli leader, but what many expected and did not hear was call for military action against the Islamic Republic, contingent on Iran crossing a definite red-line. That definite red-line was, as had been proposed many times before and even passed by our House and Senate Resolutions before their recent recess, Iran's acquiring the capability of making an atomic weapon.
Remember President Obama's repeated warnings that the United States would keep all options open to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He said so again in his address at the UN on Monday. Obama, as I have mentioned several times in my previous writings, knows that Iran is not developing a nuclear arsenal, even though the Iranians are undoubtedly already capable of doing so, and have been for a while. So, Mr. Obama's warnings are definitely not pointing to a belief on American Administration's part that a war against Iran is in the books. And the Israelis are also aware of all that. This is like saying that the United States would attack Iran if the Ayatollah jumps over the moon: He knows that won't happen! So, even though Mr. Obama's declarations against Iran's nuclear activities sound ominous, they are no more than politically necessary, harmless threats.
Now, almost convinced that the Democratic party will come on top in November presidential elections, the Israelis know that they have to deal with Mr. Obama for another four years. Having received ample assurances from the Administration that their privileged status will not only remain safeguarded, but even enhanced, the Netanyahu government must now back off from its cry-wolf scare tactics and cool off a bit.
Netanyahu did that to an acceptable extent in his UN address. But to not be accused of being bullied by his chief benefactor for not pushing for a dangerously whimsical red-line, i. e. Iran's reaching the capability of making the bomb, he came up with a comedy routine not that dissimilar to the pathetically embarrassing display exhibited by Collin Powel about Saddam Hussein's WMD projects.
Netanyahu produced a graphic display showing a line diagram of a round bomb almost in the shape of a pomegranate. There was a horizontal line nearly two-thirds of the way up in it that was marked "70%". Right under the neck of the pomegranate was another horizontal line marked "90%".
At first I thought the numbers 70 and 90 indicated the degrees of enrichment of uranium that was reaching bomb-grade percentages: but that was not what the diagram meant. He said that once we reach the 90% line we enter the zone (in the neck of the pomegranate) where all that is needed would be a detonator to set off the nuclear bomb.
So, his worry was 1- Where are we now as far as reaching the point where enough highly enriched uranium has been produced to become a bomb, should a detonator be ready to activate the explosion? And, 2- Where is the detonator and at what stage is its completion? He didn't elaborate on what his own assessment was in those regards!
If that was not confusing enough, he said that making enough weapon's grade enriched uranium might take many, many years, and the process could be carried out in many, many places, and we can actually see all such locations. But the trigger mechanism or the detonator is a small device that could be manufactured in a small classroom-size place. And, Iran being a very vast country, there is no way to know where exactly such a device might be under development.
In other words, he didn't know where on his pomegranate sketch he would draw the line that would indicate how close, he believed, Iran was to producing weapon's grade enriched uranium; is Iran 30% there, or 70%, 90%, or almost there? And, without the detonator, as he stated, the bomb is really not a bomb.
| Kam Zarrabi is the
author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs,
particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
More information about Mr. Zarrabi and his work is available at: intellectualdiscourse.com
So, I wondered out loud, "where the hell is your so-called red-line, Mr. Prime Minister? Isn't it a fact that your barking and chest-thumping has once again been for show, your time-tested theatrical routine you have employed for intimidation and extortion of the gullible American public, Mr. Netanyahu?
I am more convinced than ever before that attacking Iran by Israel and/or the United States is not in the books, as such an action would serve nobody's interests and would, if some crazy accident or stupid action does trigger it, result in untold damage to the entire region and most of all to Israel.
Other recent articles by Kam Zarrabi:
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