‘We will not build two [nuclear] bombs in the face of [America’s] 20,000,” said
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in response to an International Atomic
Energy Agency report this week that accuses Iran of doing just that. He called
Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, a US puppet, saying: “This person does not
publish a report about America and its allies’ nuclear arsenals.”
that’s true, actually.
Amano will never publish a report about America’s
nuclear weapons (only 5,133 of them now, actually). He hasn’t said anything
about Israel’s, Britain’s and France’s weapons of mass destruction either. And
his report is largely based on information fed to him by Western intelligence
But apart from that, Amano is as impartial and free from US
influence as you would expect a career Japanese diplomat to be.
cynical people will see any resemblance to Colin Powell’s performance at the
United Nations in 2003, when the US defense secretary held up a test tube and
assured us all that Iraq really was working on germ warfare.
allegedly working on nuclear weapons, too: former president George W. Bush’s
famous “smoking gun,” which also subsequently went missing.
And on the
basis of this “intelligence” about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the
United States and its more gullible allies invaded the country. Hundreds of
thousands died, no weapons were found, and nothing was learned. Here we go
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Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on
The same intelligence agencies are producing the same sort of reports
about Iran that we heard eight years ago about Iraq’s nuclear ambitions, and
interpreting the information in the same highly prejudiced way.
people in the West realize that they are being hustled into yet another attack
on a Middle Eastern country, but they don’t really worry about it too much.
After all, it will only be air strikes, and we all know that an air-only war is
practically casualty-free for the side with air superiority. Look at Libya, for
But how many citizens of the United States or Britain know that
Iran has 10 times as many people as Libya? Maybe one in 10, maybe one in 20. How
many know that Iran is a partially democratic, technologically proficient state
with no history of attacking its neighbors, not a tin-pot dictatorship run by a
vicious loon? About the same number. How many realize that the war would not end
with a few days of air strikes? Practically none.
exception to all this is Israel, where people do know those things, and where
there is a vigorous debate about whether attacking Iran is a good idea. Many
think it is not, and that also goes for both of Israel’s intelligence agencies,
the Mossad and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). Meir Dagan, the recently
retired head of the Mossad, said last January that an attack on Iran was “the
stupidest idea” he had ever heard.
So Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, both of whom do apparently want to attack Iran
(or rather, have the United States do it for them), have gone public. If the
Western powers don’t act at once, they warn, then Iran will get nuclear weapons
and Armageddon will be just around the corner.
There are two things wrong
with this proposition. One is the evidence. If you believe it all, it shows that
Iran wants the knowledge and equipment that would let it build a nuclear weapon
very quickly if necessary: an Israeli nuclear threat, a military coup in
nuclear-armed Pakistan that brings young Shia-hating officers to power,
The evidence does not
show that Iran is actually building a
nuclear weapon now, or has any present intention of doing so.
the knowledge and equipment that would let you do so fast in an emergency is
entirely legal under IAEA rules.
The other problem with the accusations
against Iran is the logic behind them. Building a nuclear weapon now would be
extremely costly for Iran in terms of economic sanctions, global diplomatic
isolation and the like if it became known. But it would be completely pointless
from a deterrence point of view if it remained secret.
Deterrence is the
only logical reason that Iran would ever want nuclear weapons, since it would be
suicidal for it to attack anybody with them. As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pointed out
(above), it would have at the most a few nuclear warheads.
States has thousands of them, Israel has hundreds of them, and even Pakistan has
If Iran’s leaders were completely logical in their thinking, they
wouldn’t waste a minute thinking about nuclear deterrence.
rely on the fact that their military can completely shut the Gulf to oil traffic
and bring the global economy to its knees if anybody attacks them. However, they
are still a lot more rational than their Western counterparts – or at least than
their Western counterparts can afford to seem in public.
You heard about
that recent exchange between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President
Barack Obama that went out on an open microphone? Sarkozy said, “I can’t stand
[Netanyahu] any more.
He’s a liar.” And Obama replied: “You’re sick of
him? I have to deal with him every day.” What about? One gets you 10 that it’s
about bombing Iran.The writer is a London-based independent journalist
whose articles are published in 45 countries.
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