The article Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran “Far off.” by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) published a good summary of the current situation vis á vis Iran’s nuclear program. In an effort to provide a public service announcement for right-wing wackos whose lust for war can never be satiated, it is reproduced below.
“Israeli intelligence agencies have worked up an intelligence assessment that Iran has not yet decided whether to begin a military program to construct a nuclear warhead. […] This is the same conclusion to which the 16 US intelligence agencies have come in 2007 and 2010. It is also consistent with what the Iranian government itself says, which is that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program is a civilian one and that Iran is not trying to construct a nuclear weapon. Likewise, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities, has repeatedly and consistently stated that no nuclear material has been diverted from the civilian program. (Emphasis added.)”
Iran is doing everything it can to show that it doesn’t want nuclear weapons. The Ayatollah Is Right About One Thing: Nuclear Weapons Are Sinful by Robert Scheer (TruthDig)
“We do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons—quite the opposite,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday in summarizing the ayatollah’s views. Salehi added, “The production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”
The article Khamenei Takes Control, Forbids Nuclear Bomb by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) cites a recent speech by Khamenei:
“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”
The U.S. chooses instead to pay attention to Ahmadinejad, whose statements are far more provocative, but his power is significantly subordinate to that of the Supreme Leader of Iran, cited above (as evidenced by his title, if nothing else). Good old Mahmoud is much easier to portray as a loose cannon, though, and Americans barely even know where Iran is, much less to whom power is distributed in its government. And even Ahmedinejad doesn’t sound so crazy when you actually read his speeches. For an example, there is this Ahmadinejad Speech on Nuclear Energy Advances (Full Text) by Juan Cole (Informed Comment).
“They built atomic bombs, they built chemical weapons, and today, using their domination of centers of power, both in the arena of economics and politics, they have imposed a modern and complex system of plunder on the world.
“In this way, the wealth of nations is systematically plundered and transferred into the pocket of the oppressors of the world. In my view, even more treacherous and more odious than this is their attitude toward science. It is their approach toward the progress of nations. They monopolize science. They monopolize technologies that originated from that science. Science has to be at the service of the international community.
“Any nation that dares to develop this science and technology is faced with pressures and sanctions on top of insults and much hullaballoo.”
Ahmadinejad goes on to provide quite a detailed history of Iran with respect to its nuclear program, the IAEA, sanctions, murder of Iranian scientists and other pressures brought to bear by the U.S. and Israel. He also goes into quite a bit of technical detail on the actual processes involved and how they are really only appropriate for the purposes cited by the Iranian government (e.g. for medical use).
As expected, the U.S. ignored these statements, choosing instead to believe its own myths about Iran. One of the usual culprits, Laura E. Kennedy (who comes across as a stark, raving zealot in interviews) “said that Iran’s claim to be opposed to such weapons “stands in sharp contrast” to that nation’s failure to comply with international obligations.” Which international obligations she’s talking about is not clear; presumably she’s talking about her personal view that Iran should just collapse already and give the U.S. all of its oil and other resources for free. Iran is well within its obligations to the NPT. Her claims that Iran is “resistant to inspections” is laughable as Iran is the most inspected nation on Earth. They have been almost unbelievably forthcoming to the IAEA, especially compared with what one would expect their behavior to be if they were truly belligerent (like the U.S.). That they don’t allow every inspection, no matter how intrusive or frivolous, is not an indication that they aren’t cooperative, but that they have a degree of sovereignty (of which the U.S. and its belligerent allies don’t approve).
And Ms. Kennedy is not the only one. Her entreaties to see through Iran’s shams are joined by none other than über-hawk Hillary Clinton—who has pretty much never met a war she didn’t like—who joins Vice President Biden and President Obama in near-constant repudiation of any and all serious authorities on the subject of Iran. In the article, Clinton Revives Dubious Charge of “Covert” Iranian Nuclear Site by Gareth Porter (CounterPunch) covers this in more detail, showing that the Obama administration—and Clinton, as Secretary of State, in particular—is seemingly oblivious of the parallels to the false propaganda peddled about Iraq before the invasion of 2003. It seems they will have their war, come hell or high water.
Even more recently, according to the article Obama, Iran and preventive war by Glenn Greenwald (Salon), Obama claimed outright that “he’d call for military action to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear weapon”. Just like that. Military action. And, since no one in his administration or the media—or, after years of inundation with propaganda, 70% of Americans—believe that the Iranians are not trying to build nuclear weapons, we’re almost certain to attack Iran sooner rather than later. That is, what Iran is actually doing or planning to do doesn’t even really enter into it. The U.S. and Israel are only in dispute as to whether to “[attack Iran] when it develops the capacity to develop nuclear weapons (Israel) or [attack Iran] only once it decides to actually develop a nuclear weapon (the U.S.)”. There’s not a lot of depth to that worldview, really.
Clinton and Obama are not alone; she has the whole of the co-dependent American media to back her up in her wild and untrue allegations. The article Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross belong in a fear-mongering museum by Glenn Greenwald (Salon) tells of how major network news anchors are happy to peddle the party line. Just as a sample,
“Sawyer begins by warning of “a kind of shadow war being waged by Iran around the world” — based on her blind acceptance of totally unproven Israeli accusations that Iran was behind three bombings yesterday in India, Georgia and Thailand, and without any mention of the constant attacks on Iran over the course of several years by the U.S. and Israel. […] Needless to say, no contrary information or critical sources are included: no Iranians are heard from and there’s nobody to question any of these accusations. It’s just one-sided, unchallenged government claims masquerading as a news report.”
And Sawyer was right in the thick of things selling the U.S. a bill of goods in 2002 when building the case for war with Iraq for the Bush administration. They may think that they’re just doing their jobs, they may even believe what they’re saying, but their war-mongering is not only morally reprehensible but, more importantly, a danger to so many lives. And, like Clinton, Sawyer is not alone, as detailed in the article U.S. media takes the lead on Iran by Glenn Greenwald (Salon), this time with a focus on another network news anchor, Brian Williams, who’s selling the same propaganda as his ostensible competition, Sawyer. Williams essentially tells a story of Iran being the bad guy for expressing an intention to retaliate if Israel were to preëmptively attack them. That Iran can be considered the aggressor is only possible with a seriously warped approach to reality. Luckily, the U.S.—and Europe, too, let’s not forget how willingly they go along with all of this war-mongering—has that in spades. Greenwald puts it very nicely (see his article for many supporting links):
“It’s just remarkable to watch the American media depict Iran as the threatening, aggressive party here. Literally on a daily basis, political and media figures in both the U.S. and Israel openly threaten to attack Iran and debate how the attack should happen with a casualness that most people use to contemplate what to have for lunch. The U.S. has orchestrated devastating and always-escalating sanctions which, by design, are wrecking the Iranian economy, collapsing its currency, and generating serious hardship for its 75 million citizens. The U.S. military has that country almost completely encircled. The U.S. military behemoth, and Israel’s massive nuclear stockpile and sophisticated weaponry, make the Iranian military by comparison look almost as laughable as Saddam’s. Iran’s scientists have been serially murdered on its own soil, their facilities bombarded with sophisticated cyber attacks, and dissident groups devoted to the overthrow of their government (ones even the U.S. designates as Terrorists) have been armed, trained and funded by Israel while leading American politicians openly shill for them in exchange for substantial payments.”
And this is only discussing what many would consider to be the more respectable—and some would even call liberal or left-wing—end of the U.S. media spectrum. The war-mongering above, though appalling to anyone with any sensible attitude toward war, facts and logic, seems quite level-headed when the worst actors in the U.S. media are included. The article Various Matters by Glenn Greenwald (Salon) includes a note about Tucker Carlson, who’s well-known as a know-it-all blowhard, but who’s really gone around the bend with this statement:
“I think we are the only country with the moral authority […] sufficient to do that. [The U.S. is] the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world. I do think, I’m sure I’m the lone voice in saying this, that Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil.”
This is on a prime-time show on the leading news channel Fox News. To soften the blow, he did note that “we should assess what will happen to the price of energy were we to do that.” That’s all. That’s quite an interesting application of moral authority. It’s doubtful that more than a handful of viewers and probably none of his coworkers were alarmed in the least at this statement or thought it at all out-of-bounds.
But far worse than the psychotic media are the aforementioned statements of U.S. politicians. As detailed in the article Brazil Takes the Lead in Trying to Stop Another Senseless War by Mark Weisbrot (CounterPunch), there are nations that are trying to stop this madness before it goes further. People like “Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota”, who’s cited in the article, will actually come out and say what Obama, Netanyahu et. al. only hint at.
“The people who keep saying “all options are on the table,” with respect to Iran, include various U.S. and Israeli officials, and most importantly President Obama himself. […] And everyone knows what they mean […] they reserve the “right” to bomb Iran if they don’t get what they want […]”
Though many think the U.S. is simply blustering and runs the risk of violating international conventions, just making such clear threats is already “a violation of the UN Charter”, not that that bothers many Americans. With all of this talk of impending war with Iran and possible transgressions against international law, how is it that the sanctions against Iran don’t already count as acts of war? Were any country to do to an EU country or the US even a tenth of what the EU and the US have done—or have promised to do—to Iran, there would be immediate cries of acts of war. In fact, when Clinton triumphantly announced the ludicrous Iranian “plot” to kill a Saudi ambassador late last year, she used exactly those words, “act of war”. And this to describe a laughable plan made up almost entirely from whole cloth by the CIA.
As detailed in the article Blunt Instrument: Sanctions Don’t Promote Democratic Change by Natasha Bahrami and Trita Parsi (Boston Review), the sanctions regime against Iran is already years old and cruel like almost none other the world has seen (excepting perhaps that used against Iraq during the 90s, another disturbing parallel). Thousands die due to these sanctions, but the blame is laid squarely at the feet of the Iranian regime which failed to … what? Give up? Is that really what the US and EU expect to happen? They know it won’t happen yet they persist with sanctions anyway, knowing full well that only innocents will suffer. These are clearly acts of war. The article cited above describes some of these sanctions.
“Come July, Iran’s oil will no longer flow to Europe, thanks to an EU embargo announced on January 23. That same day the United States approved sanctions on the country’s third largest bank, Bank Tejarat, which the Treasury Department says “has directly facilitated Iran’s illicit nuclear efforts.” Twenty-two other Iranian banks face U.S. sanctions.
“The official objective of the sanctions is to compel Iran to negotiate with the West toward the implementation of existing UN Security Council resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. Unofficially, there are hints that the sanctions are aimed at collapsing the Iranian regime and bringing about democratic change.”
The article goes on to provide ample evidence supporting the thesis that sanctions don’t work in any way, shape or form (or at least don’t produce the touted effects). They tend, in fact, to have the opposite to the intended effect, with state power consolidated to the regime and people more supportive of the regime—both because they are not entirely stupid and know that the hardship is imposed from without and because the regime also makes sure to tell them this at every possible opportunity.
“Additional research is needed on the apparent inverse correlation between broad economic sanctions and democratization. The existing data, however, suggest that states and indigenous pro-democracy groups should be cautious about using economic sanctions as a tool in their struggles against authoritarian regimes. The data not only show that dictatorships faced with sanctions tend to enhance their grip on power, but also that successful cases of democratization have overwhelmingly occurred in the absence of broad economic sanctions.”
That about sums it up. The US and the EU are already waging a useless economic war on Iran, but Iran’s the indisputable bad guy here. The U.S. is only defending itself against evil. If you don’t believe U.S. propaganda in a knee-jerk manner, the degree of deception is breathtaking, with the goal only really nebulously defined. Are we after their oil? Their gas? What? Or do these people in charge of America actually believe their narratives of absolute evil? Are they really scared of what Ahmadinejad might do? Can they be that ignorant? Or are they deliberately so ignorant? Or are they really so stupid and this narrative is the one to which to they cling because it’s simple? It’s hard not to believe that someone’s aware that the threat posed by Iran is not only way overblown but an utter crock of shit. And that someone is probably promulgating that threat to profit from it somehow. Can it really be the military-industrial-complex that is so heedlessly pushing the U.S. to another war, just for some good fourth-quarter growth and government contracts? Or is the U.S. just batshit crazy?
It’s possible that the final reason is the correct one. At least the U.S. is not alone. According to the article, Are We on the Brink of War With Iran? by Trita Parsi (The Nation)
“Israel demanded complete dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program, an unachievable objective that rendered diplomacy dead on arrival. Third, the Israelis and their hardline US allies pushed for sanctions before diplomacy was even tried.”
Why is Israel—or, to put it more precisely, the Likud lunatics that currently have Israel by the throat—so crazy about Iran? Anybody’s guess, really. Perhaps just an atavistic reaction, but crazy seems to sum it up much better. Calling something crazy usually precludes finding out what’s really going on—and precludes being able to stop it next time—but it’s really getting hard to believe we’re ever going to figure why they do what they do before they do it.