Tag Archives: Iran’s nuclear ambitions

All Options On the Table

Iran has a proud heritage as an independent nation for much  of its long  history.   The   Achaemenid Empire,  Saleucid  period,  the Parthian  and  Sassanid Empires all reference a proud history, with the Median empire  dating back  to at least  728 BCE.

The long history of human civilisation  in Persia has resulted  in a very varied ethnic  composition to the country.   The Shi-ite branch of the Muslim faith forms the vast  majority of religious views, with 75-80% of the country speaking a variety  of forms of Iranian (known as  Farsi).  The ethnic composition  currently is Persians 61%,[5][6] Azeris 16%, Kurds 10%, Lurs 6%, Arabs 2% Baloch 2%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%,

Iran  with its unique cultural  and ethnic identity, has therefore  always strongly resisted foreign  occupation  forces, ranging from the Turkish Ottomans  to the Russians, British, and finally the Americans by proxy.

Since the Revolution in  1979,  which  saw the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty, (a hereditary   dictatorship installed by  the British  and Americans to manage oil  distribution),  Iran has become  both  a democracy  and theocracy. Voters  are able to vote for an “approved”  list of  candidates in  each election  whose  appropriateness is vetted by  the  Supreme Council of mullahs.  Thus the range of candidates in Iran is circumscribed by  the candidates’  apparent moral  and religious rectitude, rather than, as in  the US, and increasingly other Western  countries, by the size of the bank balance backing the candidate.  While levels of imprisonment, torture,  and arbitrary  execution remain  high,  they appear to be significantly lower than  in  the heyday of the revolution, and proportionally less than  the Saudis across the Gulf.  There is solid evidence from  surveys undertaken in Iran by  independent surveyors that the current Iranian system of government has the support of significant majority of the population; perhaps particularly so  because it is a unique and indigenous product of Iranian culture and community, and not one imposed by  other foreign cultures and governments.

Since the Pahlavi  Shah  was deposed and the American Embassy  occupied by Iranian student revolutionaries, the US and its allies have imposed  tighter and tighter levels of sanctions on  Iran;   supposedly for its development of nuclear weapons, but undoubtedly because the current government does not share the commercial  and power block interests of the  US, UK, Israel and its  Saudi  anti-Shi-ite backers. These  sanctions have both created opportunities for  considerable Iranian  scientific and industrial innovation, but also  restricted sales of its petrochemicals and other exports via Western  banking systems  (predominantly the Swift electronic transfer process). These commercial trading blockages  have also  resulted in  a very high  inflation rate  and lack  of access to  some essential  goods like pharmaceuticals; particularly radio-isotope  anti-cancer  drugs.

New systems of both  banking transfer and use of  non US dollars are however  now being developed by  the BRIC nations to circumvent the  monopoly  on  international commercial transactions  by US allies. These alternative international transactions method are naturally a cause of significant anxiety to   the US and UK who  have traditionally monopolized the methods and systems of monetary   transfer across the world-a source of both great  wealth  and power to both  countries state and commercial financial   entities.  How  drastic the response by  the US,  UK  and the EU and  its  ‘international’ institution,  the IMF,   to attempt  to stop these new systems developing further  is unknown  at  this point.

Despite much Western hype about the so-called “green  revolution” at  Iran’s last  national  elections, support for the  current system of government remains high, and a sense of national Iranian pride and  solidarity in  its unique culture and independence  is strong.  Iran appears increasingly supported by  both the BRIC countries and the non-aligned nations in  its struggle to remain  outside Western commercial and cultural domination.

Aside from Iraq’s fragile national entity and the tottering predominantly  Alawite  Syrian regime, Iran remains the one substantial  Shi-ite state in the Middle East; something that is anathema to  the extremist  Salafist Sunni hereditary dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Qatar  across the Persian Gulf.

Given  the advanced state of Iranian scientific  research  and its industrial  capabilities, it would be extraordinary  for Iran to have taken 54 years to  develop  its nuclear weapon  capabilities; with the  initial technology  being  supplied by  the Americans to the Shah in 1959 .  Israel  and the US media have been crying “wolf’  about an Iranian  nuclear programme since the Iranian revolution,  despite all  declarations from Iran that it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons. That  declaration is in  sharp contrast to  Israel, which  has stockpiled a massive nuclear weapon  arsenal but  continues to  deny its existence and refuses to sign international nuclear protocols (with the full support of the United States).

Iran’s position on Israel  has always been  quite clear;  Iran will not attack  Israel unless it is attacked first,  but  believes that  the Israeli  state  is an anathema to the region as  a rascist  and apartheid-like entity, and an oppressor of the Palestinian people who  who have been forced from their lands and homes..  Iranian President Ahmadinejad  (branded ‘crazy’  in  the Western media -as all  anti Western leaders  are), never did say (as often quoted in  the media)  that Iran  would wipe Israel off the map; he  stated that  the state of Israel  had no future and would cease to  exist in  time. Iran has not attacked any other foreign country  in the past 100 years, despite continued illegal threats and harrassment from Israel , the United States,  the UK,  and Saudi Arabia .  It has however certainly used its proxies of Hamas and Hezbollah, and to an unknown degree, its informal  military,  the Revolutionary Guards,  in  the   region to  de-stabilise what it sees as anti-Shi-ite and reactionary forces and to  support anti-Israeli occupation forces in  Lebanon.

The Iranian “Supreme Leader”  has repeatedly stated and issued fatwas to the effect  that it would be morally wrong for Iran  to  possess a nuclear weapon. Such statements make it  virtually impossible for  Shi-ite Iranians  to develop  a nuclear weapon; to defy a fatwa by  the Supreme Leader would be suicide.

Even the US “intelligence” community as late as 2011 reluctantly confirmed that Iran has no nuclear weapon  development programme,  but has continued to insist on its legal  right (under international law) to develop  nuclear  fission  capability for peaceful purposes. Iran is under no illusions that the continuing ongoing  threats and sanctions by  the Western community are  about stopping a non-existent weapons programme: they are about regime-change.

Therefore US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent statements in Jerusalem (8-4-13) (or El Quds as it is know in Moslem countries),  warning  Iran  that his country would not hesitate to take military action if the diplomatic process failed to prevent Tehran from continuing its drive for nuclear weapons, is thus one more  threat  from the world’s superpower to  a country that insists on its independence. The threats are of course entirely illegal  and sanctionable under international  law: but who would dare (yet) to prosecute the US?

However it should by now be self-evident to even  the most  dupe-able politician  in the US or Europe; that the only way the Iranian population would accept a Western  installed regime; as in  the Gulf states, would be through  massive all-out war  and occupation.

While it is clear that  US, Israeli and Saudi  forces combined would annihilate most Iranian conventional military forces within  days or weeks, causing millions of civilian deaths in  its wake , the ongoing unconventional  and “assymetric’  war  would continue for years and likely decades, disrupting oil transit through  the Gulf,  eventually result in the overthrow of the Saudi regime, the disintegration of the Israeli  apartheid state, and the collapse of other US client states in the region  like  Jordan. In the short to medium  term, a victory  against  Iran by the  mediaeval  mysoginist  Sunni Salafists  running Saudi Arabia  would also likely result in incalculable suffering to the millions of Shi-ites in  the region.

But, despite all  facts to the contrary, US Secretary of State John Kerry once again has  supported Israel’s war rhetoric against Iran at a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Monday.

“No option is off the table. No option will be taken off the table. And I confirmed you Mr. President that we will continue to seek a diplomatic solution, but our eyes are open, and we understand that the clock is moving,” Kerry stated.

While it is undoubtedly true to most Western observers that  the Iranian state  is an autocratic,  religious based entity that uses executions and torture to control its adversaries, the same can of course be said for its US adversary, the Israeli state against its Palestinian population,  and the Saudi   hereditary  dictatorship. Additionally, Iran’s democratic  institutions are, from  a Western cultural perspective, far in  ‘advance’ of anything in  the Western backed Gulf states across the Gulf. Women’s rights are also largely guaranteed in Iran, in contrast to the misogynist  laws and values across the Gulf.

The only reason therefore  why  the West  continues to threaten  Iran, is that it represents an alternative, independent,   third way   of international power and relations  in  a region  where Western predominance is vital to  maintain the flow of oil to  the West (despite the hype about shale oil) ,  and  a potential  threat  to the continued existence of a “western”  Israeli  entity artificially planted in  a sea of Arab  and Persian nationalism.

__________________________________________________________

Postscript:

Glenn Greenwald’s Podcast discussion with two of America’s leading Iran experts: the Leveretts

Two former officials of the US National Security State become the most vocal critics of US policy toward Tehran…

Or read the Leverett’s take on  the issues directly here at  Consortium News

Note their attendance at  a student seminar with  Noam  Chomsky  at MIT  on Tuesday May  14th  here

___________________________________________________________

The Elephant in the Room: Militarism

by Jeff Cohen

I spent years as a political pundit on mainstream TV – at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. I was outnumbered, outshouted, red-baited and finally terminated. Inside mainstream media, I saw that major issues were not only dodged, but sometimes not even acknowledged to exist.