FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Putting the Iran “Threat” in Perspective

In early February, new U.S. Sanctions against Iran went into effect despite the growing sentiment that Washington is discreetly moving towards a more nuanced policy with respect to Iran. To wit, the nomination of Chuck Hagel for the post of Secretary of Defense, whose views on the Middle East in general and Iran in particular are characterized as moderate in American terms. In addition to which, a report just released by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the Washington think tank whose purpose is to develop U.S. security policy is unambiguous: fears that an Iranian nuclear weapon would trigger a arms race in the Middle East are grossly exaggerated.

The three countries in the region eventually interested in developing their own nuclear devices are said to be Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. However, as the authors of the report indicate, Saudi Arabia is a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and “…would more likely pursue a more aggressive version of its current conventional defense and civilian nuclear hedging strategy while seeking out an external nuclear security guarantee.”

With regard to Egypt, not only does that country not see Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat but is besieged by internal political and economic problems rendering it unlikely to embark on such an adventure. In addition, because Egypt’s economy and its military forces being heavily dependent on U.S. largesse, it would probably hesitate antagonizing Washington by developing a nuclear weapon. Finally, Turkey already possesses a nuclear deterrent through its NATO security guarantees.

It has been stated repeatedly that an aggressive Iranian government would represent a danger for the region and for the U.S. Historical fact, however, turns that argument upside down. To the contrary, Iranians have been witness to a number of acts of foreign intervention against their country.

Who can forget that it was foreign intervention, by the British and American governments, that destroyed democracy in Iran. In 1953, the CIA was instrumental in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh following his nationalization of Iranian oil and in bringing the Shah back to power.

The U.S. staunchly supported the Shah of Iran’s regime, despite its brutal repression of the Iranian people. According to Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup And the Roots of Middle East Terror, fears by the Iranians of more U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of their country was what prompted the occupation of the U.S. embassy in 1979.

In 1988, toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian civilian airliner over the Strait of Hormuz. Two hundred ninety passengers were killed, including 66 children, ranking it the seventh among the deadliest airliner fatalities. According to the U.S. government, the U.S.S. Vincennes crew misidentified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter. Although a settlement was reached between Iran and U.S., the Vincennes’ captain received the Legion of Merit, and the crew was awarded Combat Action Ribbons.

Last September Efraim Halevy, head of the Mossad from 1998 to 2000, declared in an interview with Haaretz, “What we need to do is to try and understand the Iranians. The basic feeling of that ancient nation is one of humiliation. Both religious Iranians and secular Iranians feel that for 200 years the Western powers used them as their playthings…Thus, the deep motive behind the Iranian nuclear project –which was launched by the Shah- is not the confrontation with Israel, but the desire to restore to Iran the greatness of which it was long deprived.”

Both the U.S. and Israel, however, have repeatedly threatened military action against Tehran in flagrant violation of the UN Charter whose Article 2 states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

As President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have repeatedly stated, diplomacy should be pursued in dealing with the Iranian government. Such an approach should include important verification concessions on the Iranian government’s nuclear energy program, as well as security assurances to the Iranian government that it will not be attacked by the US or Israel.

Dr. César Chelala is an international public health consultant and a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail