News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: High-Noon in Iran

Saturday, January 14, 2006

High-Noon in Iran

As I have posted before, any wratcheting up of the rhetoric against Iran is simple-minded and one-dimensional diplomacy. The Bush administration is simply playing into the hands of Israel when it backs that country's demands that the US do something about Iran's fledgling nuclear industry.

As the US Army War College has noted, a post-nuclear Iran is not the end of the world, as much as neo-cons, evangelists, and extremist Zionists might wish us to think so. ...

According to the Washington Post, in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Merkel, Pres. Bush said:

In using the phrase "grave threat," Bush invoked the same language he used before launching the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and he highlighted in particular the danger to Israel. But during a White House appearance with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bush stressed that he hopes to forge a "common consensus" with other world leaders for a diplomatic resolution of the escalating confrontation with Iran.
As usual, Mr. Bush's "high-noon" language betrays both a lack of diplomatic grace, as well as a simplistic view of the world.

As I have noted in other places, Iran is a country that has a healthy sense of dissent. Contrary to the view purveyed by the press, Iran's history-challenged President is seen more as a nuisance than a serious politician. He does not have much power in the Iranian form of government, so he makes up for it by spouting semi-apocalyptic, history-deficient statements.

According to an op-ed written for the NYTimes, Afshin Molavi wrote a while ago:
Iran's modern middle class, which is increasingly urbanized, wired and globally connected, provides particularly fertile soil for these aspirations. The Stanford University scholar Abbas Milani has described Iran's middle class as a "Trojan horse within the Islamic republic, supporting liberal values, democratic tolerance and civic responsibility." And so long as that class grows, so too will the pressure for democratic change.
The US should take advantage of this "trojan horse" by toning down the axis of evil rhetoric and appealing to Iran's moderate leaders and middle-class through public and private means.

As for Israel's over-reaction to the Iranian nuclear program, it is hysterical and self-serving. Israel wishes to stay the only nuclear power in the region and thereby continue to manipulate the situation so that its dominance continues to grow. If Israel seriously wished to stop Iran's threat, ti would stay out of Iraq, stop sending Mossad trainers to Kurdistan, and refrain from carrying out operations near the Iran/Iraq border.

As I noted before, the US Army War College International Strategic Studies (ISS) group has issued a recommendation that seems to envision a nuclear-capable Iran. Their report, GETTING READY FOR A NUCLEAR-READY IRAN, suggests ways to channel this capability in responsible ways that benefit Iran and the mideast region itself.

Indeed, this group makes a suggestion that points up something of a tipping-point in this conversation: Israel's nuclear stockpile. From an Iranian persepctive, it is the height of US hypocrisy to demand that it not have nclear weapons while the US turns a blind eye to Israel's own weapons.

According to this report, the US should remedy this perecption of favoritism towards Israel by:
Encourage Israel to initiate a Middle East nuclear restraint effort that would help isolate Iran as a regional producer of fissile materials. [emphasis in original] Israel should announce that it will unilaterally mothball (but not yet dismantle) Dimona, and place the reactor’s mothballing under IAEA monitoring. At the same time, Israel should announce that it is prepared to dismantle Dimona and place the special nuclear material it has produced in “escrow” in Israel with a third trusted declared nuclear state, e.g., the United States. It should make clear, however, that Israel will only take this additional step when at least two of three Middle Eastern nations (i.e., Algeria, Egypt, or Iran) follow Israel’s lead by mothballing their own declared nuclear facilities that are capable of producing at least one bomb’s worth of plutonium or highly enriched uranium in 1 to 3 years. Israel should further announce that it will take the additional step of handing over control of its weapons usable fissile material to the IAEA when:
  • a. All states in the Middle East (i.e., the three mentioned above)dismantle their fissile producing facilities (large research and power reactors, hexafluoride, enrichment plants, and all reprocessing capabilities).
  • b. All nuclear weapons states (including Pakistan) formally agree not to redeploy nuclear weapons onto any Middle Eastern nation’s soil in time of peace. Such arms restraint by deed rather than negotiation should avoid the awkwardness of current Middle Eastern arms control proposals that would have Israel enter into nuclear arms talks with states that do not recognize it and have it admit that it has nuclear weapons―a declaration that would force Israel’s neighbors immediately to justify some security reaction including getting bombs of their own.
Such efforts, along with the other recommendations in this report, will not only go a long way in heading off nuclear confrontation in the mideast but also provide goodwill with Iran that can stabilize the region itself.

Update 1/15/06: Iranian Says Pressure Won't End Nuclear Bid

Other postings on Iran:

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