Monday, February 16, 2009


More about Iran than you will learn from Fox News

by Larry Geller

Some things seem never to change. For example, the right-wing telepundits’ ongoing diatribe about Iran.

Some commentators and think-tanks, largely those who advocated the stunning success of the Iraq war and the breathtaking efficiency of deregulated financial institutions, continue to regurgitate George Bush’s Axis of Evil mantra warning about Iran.

In this scenario a nuclear-armed Iran would create global instability and threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is also the root cause of Syrian intransigence, Hizbollah’s Lebanese success, and Hamas’s military capacities. Jacques Chirac put the Iranian nuclear threat in context when he said in a 2007 interview with the New York Times: “Having one or perhaps a second bomb a little later, well, that’s not very dangerous. Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone 200 metres into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed.”

An Iranian nuke hardly alters the global balance on a planet with over 20,000 nuclear warheads. [The Irish Times, US and Iran begin their diplomatic tango to peace, 2/16/2009]

The Irish Times article has good history and good background. No doubt Americans have a hard time placing Iran on a map, and know little about its history except that there once was a Shah there.

Iranians understandably feel that foreign powers tend to deny Iran access to the technologies it needs. The popular view of Iran’s nuclear programme slots neatly into this view as do the sanctions which have crippled the country’s petrochemical industry.

This is the context into which Obama’s initiative must step. In today’s metamorphosing Islamic Republic of Iran, everything must be viewed through three intermingling prisms – the Islamic, the nationalist, and the national. Elsewhere in the Muslim world, in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, around the Gulf, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and right across to Lebanon, Shi’ites are often second class citizens. Iran is the world’s only Shia state, and its achievements carry that extra emotional charge of Shia success.

The article provides insights on Iran’s potential nuclear capabilities (check out the full article) including the possibility that Iran could just assemble a bomb if it really wanted to:

Iran’s nuclear programme started under the Shah with US, Canadian and European, particularly French, equipment and training for those who are today its senior nuclear scientists and engineers. The programme mirrors the 2003 analysis from the US comedian Bill Hicks: “You know we armed Iraq. How do you know that? Uh, well . . . we looked at the receipts.”

It seems likely that Iran is working towards a Japanese situation where it would have the capacity to quickly assemble a nuclear weapon, even if it refrains from actually doing so. In October 2007 a US National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran did not have an active nuclear weapons programme.

Here’s a handy map of Iran to keep handy while reading the article. Just looking at its situation you can imagine why it is a hot spot for the US. Also, of course, it has oil.

Map Iran

Technorati Tags: , , Tags: , ,


Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older