Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Irrationality of the Case against Iran’s Nuclear Program
"The Stupidest Idea I Ever Heard"


By Gary Leupp

...
But what is the logic of offering Iran a “last chance” to stop doing what it is legally entitled to do? 

The only logic I can see here–and it is a perverse form–resides in the assumption that as the bombs start to fall Washington will be able to say, “We were patient, we went that last mile, and gave them their opportunity, but they defied the international community and so we (or Israel) had to attack.” 

It is 2003 all over again...Preparations for an attack on Iran have been made, like those for the Iraq War, through a media campaign involving terrifying phrases and accusations...

What if mainstream journalists made it a point to constantly reiterate the following?

• The Iranians have consistently stated that they do not have or want a nuclear weapons program. They want to enrich uranium for nuclear medicine and for electrical power. They are not necessarily doing anything other than what Brazil, Argentina, Japan and other countries have done under IAEA investigation, and as signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, they are absolutely entitled to do so. (The language of the treaty is clear: signatory nations have the “inalienable right” to develop civilian Nuclear programs.) 

• The chief decision-maker in Iran is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. His religious edicts (fatwa) are considered binding law by Shiite Muslims. In 2005 he issued a fatwa banning the production, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons as un-Islamic.

• The entire U.S. intelligence community (CIA, FBI, military intelligence, etc.) in two National Intelligence Estimates (in 2007 and 2010) concluded with a high degree of confidence that Iran does not have an active nuclear program.

• Israeli intelligence has concluded the same thing.

• The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never found any evidence for a nuclear weapons program...

 • Iran has not attacked another country in several hundred years. It has no territorial claims on its neighbors and enjoys good relations with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iraq. It spends less than two percent of its GDP on military spending, as compared to Israel’s over six percent, and just about half as much in dollar terms as Israel. Iran spends $89 per capita per year on military spending, as opposed to $1,882 in Israel and $2,141 in the U.S. (the highest in the world).

• U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence officials agree that the Iranian leadership is rational and not reckless. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, recently told CNN that “the Iranian regime is a rational actor.” Meir Dagan, another former Mossad chief (Halevy’s successor, from 2002 to 2009), recently told CBS, “The regime in Iran is a very rational regime… No doubt that the Iranian regime is maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western-thinking, but no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions.” Dagan meanwhile calls an Israeli attack on Iran “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”...

• There are over 30 operating synagogues in Iran, kosher stores and restaurants and Hebrew schools.

• While by law there is one member of parliament elected per 150,000 people, the Jewish community of 25,000 is guaranteed one seat....


Attacking Iran is “The stupidest idea I ever heard,” says the former Mossad chief.  Still, the U.S. government headed by “hope” and “change” candidate Obama is telling Iran to submit to U.S. diktat while it has the chance, or get bombed.
It is all, as the Iranian diplomats observe, irrational. 


Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu.
This article was first published at Dissident Voice

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