I posted on Monday about how the Obama administration is issuing Iran an ultimatum to end uranium enrichment and close down and dismantle its Fordow enrichment plant, “the one facility that is most hardened against airstrike”, and how the U.N. Security Council has no authority to demand that Iran cease enrichment, the “inalienable right” to which Iran is guaranteed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The Washington Post reports:
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was up to Iran to show that its claim of rejecting nuclear weapons is “not an abstract belief but it is a government policy.”
“And that government policy can be demonstrated in a number of ways, by ending the enrichment of highly enriched uranium to 20 percent, by shipping out such highly enriched uranium out of the country, by opening up to constant inspections and verifications,” she said at a conference in Istanbul to seek ways to aid opposition forces in Syria — Iran’s main Arab ally.
That is to say, Iran must prove that its program is for peaceful purposes by surrendering its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. If Iran does not surrender its right to enrich uranium to 20% for its Tehran research reactor (as opposed to the 90% or so it would need to enrich to for weapons’ grade uranium), obviously, that would just prove that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, the same way Saddam Hussein’s refusal to surrender alleged stockpiles of Iraq’s WMD proved that he was trying to hide them.
Nadim N. Ruhana writes at Foreign Policy about the mantra that the Arab countries join the West in fearing Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Israel’s deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor repeated recently how the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran “sends shivers of fear to all Arab countries.” Ruhama sets the record straight:
To learn more about how Arabs view the threat that Iran poses to Arab national security and about nuclear weapons in the Middle East, the Doha Institute recently surveyed the publics in 12 Arab countries covering more than 85 percent of the total population of the Arab world. The survey, which was conducted from February to July 2011, consisted of more than 16,000 face-to-face interviews with representative samples in these countries, with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.
The results were unambiguous: The vast majority of the Arab public does not believe that Iran poses a threat to the “security of the Arab homeland.” Only 5 percent of respondents named Iran as a source of threat, versus 22 percent who named the U.S. The first place was reserved for Israel, which 51 percent of respondents named as a threat to Arab national security.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Arabs of the region view Israel and the U.S. as the largest threat to regional security. It is Israel and the U.S., after all, that constantly threaten to bomb Iran (Israel directly and the U.S. through its euphemism that “all options are on the table”), and not vice versa. It is Israel and/or the U.S., after all, who have engaged in covert actions against Iran that include terrorist attacks inside Iran (i.e., assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists) and supporting terrorist organizations to destabilize the country.
Amy Goodman on Tuesday interviewed Seymour M. Hersh on Democracy Now! about his recent article in the New Yorker describing how the U.S. under the Bush administration trained members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization (a prime suspect in the assassinations). It’s a good interview and well worth the watch (or read the transcript).
On that note, the Washington Post comments matter-of-factly in passing how there is “a covert campaign by the CIA and other agencies to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program”, even though, as Sy Hersh points out in the above interview, the U.S. intelligence community continues to assess that Iran today has no active nuclear weapons program.
The corollary is that U.S. policy towards Iran has about as much to do with the “threat” of it obtaining nuclear weapons as its policy towards Iraq in the run-up to war had to do with Saddam having WMD and ties to al Qaeda.
The real problem with Iran is that it refuses to get in line and follow marching orders from Washington. This is the ultimate sin, but as if that weren’t enough, it has threatened the hegemony of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency by making moves away from the dollar to trade oil in other currencies, the same way Iraq had threatened the global financial system by switching to the euro. Of course, following Saddam’s overthrow, Iraq went back to the dollar.
The so-called “negotiations” with Iran scheduled for April 14 in Istanbul, Turkey, are designed to fail (not by Iran, as propaganda from the New York Times would have you to believe, but by the U.S.), and that does not bode well for the future and aspirations of peace and security in the region.
A bit of an aside, but also very much related, Slate cites my article “Has the U.S. Played a Role in Fomenting Unrest During Iran’s Election?” in an article titled “What’s the Best Way To Foment Unrest in a Foreign Country? A how-to guide for the aspiring fomentor.”