“America operates a rigorous double standard with respect to nuclear weapons issues, rather like confirmed alcoholics complaining about teenage drinking.”
Dan Plesch, arms control expert
Iran should be allowed to purchase or manufacture nuclear weapons without the interference of the United States. The flagrant hostility directed at Iran from the Bush Administration suggests that its survival is as threatened as any country on earth. If ever there was a case for the use of “nuclear deterrents” to evade “imminent” danger, this is it.
In any event, the decision should be made after a calm and reasoned deliberation on the facts. The verdict should not be affected by the hysteria that issues from Washington like bilge from a sinking ship.
Consider for a moment Iran’s present predicament.
The Bush Administration has telegraphed its animosity towards Iran in unambiguous language, listing it in the now infamous “Axis of Evil”.
The US has kept up its verbal assaults while at the same time engaging in an open campaign to enlist the UN’s support to condemn Iran’s shadowy nuclear activities. The US is pushing to have the Security Council insert a “trigger” mechanism in a resolution that will allow the US to take military action against Iran for “failure in compliance”.
Again, the Bush Administration is looking for the UN imprimatur to vindicate its plans for aggression.
So far, the UN is resisting, calling the US approach “unbalanced.”
There is also a history of US antagonism towards Iran that can’t be ignored.
In 1952 the US took the extraordinary step of deposing the democratically elected (but left of center) Mossedeq Government in a CIA coup carried out by Kermit Roosevelt. This led to 25 years of brutal rule by the American puppet, the Shah.
The US assisted the Shah in the training of his security “Gestapo”, the Savak, and supplied him with sufficient weaponry to keep the populace in a continual state of terror.
When a coalition of fundamentalist groups finally toppled the Shah, President Jimmie Carter appealed to the Iranian Military to reinstate the deposed tyrant rather than allow the more popular Ayatolla Khomenni take charge.
Carter’s efforts failed, (but not for lack of trying) and the popular mandate of the Iranian people succeeded.
(Whether or not the US approved of the Ayatolla is entirely irrelevant. The simple fact is he was the popular choice at the time and, therefore, his rise to power was much more consistent with basic American values of representative government than the Shah.)
The US stubbornly refused to extradite the criminal Shah back to Iran where he would have stood trial as he deserved.
Compare this to the Bush Administration’s insistence that the Taliban extradite bin Laden after 9-11 without any tangible proof of his guilt. As Bush said, “We don’t need to know if he is innocent or guilty. We know he’s guilty.” The hesitation of the Taliban was used as Bush’s justification for initiating the war.
Look, how different the approach was when Iran requested the extradition of a ruthless despot who had been terrorizing the Iranian public for 25 years. The refusal to return the Shah was a brazen and immoral act. Nations not only have the right, but the duty to hold their leaders accountable for the crimes perpetrated against their own people. It is not within America’s purview to arbitrarily determine how justice is best served in another sovereign nation. It only goes to prove that duplicity is rarely confused for justice.
The US has continued its hostility towards Iran in myriad ways.
It helped facilitate Saddam’s aggression in the eight year war that took over one million Iranian lives. The war left suffering and devastation on a massive scale on both sides, and yet, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, summarized the administration’s policy when he opined, “I hope they kill each other.” (We should note that the chemical weapons (precursors) used by Iraq against Iran were provided by both the US and Britain to Saddam. Their mutual culpability is not in question)
And, of course, ever since Iran took control of their own resources (oil and natural gas) the US has maintained strict sanctions against the country.
Control of one’s own resources is the one unpardonable crime.
Presently, the US has just unseated the Saddam regime without any proof of proscribed weapons, and is looking to destabilize the current Iranian government. President Bush has referred to this as “strengthening the forces of democracy in the region,” which translates into “unyielding covert activity to promote social unrest.”
There are 130,000 American servicemen next door in Iraq and no one can be entirely certain what “imaginary” provocation might send them marching towards Tehran.
No one should harbor any illusions about the intentions of the Bush Administration regarding Iran. It is more than likely that a UN resolution with a “trigger mechanism” would be put to good use by the “loose cannons” in Washington.
Iran provides a case where nuclear deterrents might be of some practical value.
There’s no doubt that Mr Bush would keep his legions in check if they were faced with an adversary who could actually defend themselves. Some may remember how contrite Bush was when he needed to retrieve his spy plane that went down over China. Apologies are meted out to the strong not the worthy.
It’s the same with nuclear weapons; bullies wither.
Whether or not Iran should be able to procure or manufacture nuclear weapons should be determined in an evenhanded manner. A simple series of questions will prove this point.
Has Iran violated the territorial integrity or sovereignty of any of its neighbors?
Has Iran toppled the leadership of any foreign state and replaced it with people of its own choosing?
Has Iran trained the security apparatus of any other country in the brutal methods of repression and state terror?
Has Iran actively engaged in the ousting of foreign governments to insure its access to its resources?
Has Iran levied debilitating sanctions against other countries as a form of punishment and coercion?
Has Iran ever held foreign nationals against their will in a prison camp setting in clear violation of international law and all accepted conventions of human rights?
These are the criteria that should be used to determine whether a state is responsible enough to have nuclear weapons. (if any state at all!)
Needless to say, other states would perform quite miserably on such a test.
Those are precisely the countries that should be required to disarm.
Realistically, however, Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. The ongoing charade is merely designed to undermine Iran’s defenses while the plans go forward to steal its resources.
The process of disarming one’s victim is common to any “mugging”.
This is no different.
When the farce is over, the UN will assume an air of surprise and indignation; a role it plays with considerable skill.
The clock is ticking for Iran.
The Bush Administration will not be derailed on its way to secure the seductive resources of the Caspian Basin. To the contrary, it seems all but inevitable.
When reflecting on Iran’s fragile situation we should recall Tony Blair’s ominous warning about Iraq, that it was only “a test case.”
We should stop the quibbling over who can or can’t have nuclear weapons. No nation has the right to put humanity’s neck in the noose and then, toy with its survival. That, in itself, is the height of depravity.
Abolish all nuclear weapons.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org