If the Obama administration was responsible here, they’d de-emphasize this hype, this politically motivated hype, and deal with the reality that there is no nuclear weapons program in Iran, that the newly declared Qom facility is not a threat to international peace and security, and that when Iran and the United States sits down this coming Thursday, that we will—you know, the United States hopes to find a way out of this morass, that we hope to find a way to peacefully coexist with Iran, an Iran that has a nuclear energy program fully monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
There are just a few things to remember here.
1. Iran is in compliance with its obligations vis a vis the NPT, and this revelation changes nothing. It’s only the additional voluntary protocols Iran agreed to take on (and then changed its mind about) that are at issue in any way.
2. Non-proliferation imposes obligations of both the non-nuclear states AND the nuclear powers. The United States, as well as the other nuclear powers, have an obligation to disarm. There has been significant reduction in the total number of weapons, but the U.S. military is striving to upgrade and “modernize” its arsenal, and can still blow the planet to dust many times over.
3. Israel threatens to attack Iran constantly. This is a nation that is doesn’t just talk about attacking. It has routinely attacked its neighbors, possesses a formidable nuclear arsenal, and has a really neat facility for making bombs. It has also no interest in non-proliferation.
4. Ahmadinejad is no one’s favorite head of state, least of all the Iranians’. His Holocaust denial is stupid and troubling. But he never vowed to wipe Israel off the map. See Juan Cole, who has covered the subject quite well. He is also not in charge of Iran’s armed forces. But it would be useful to remember that Iran is surrounded by hugely powerful military machines, the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israel.
5. As awful as Ahmadinejad is, and as sketchy and brutal as the recent Iranian elections were, 81 percent of the Iranian public still consider him to be legitimate president of Iran. Which is pretty much the exact percentage who believed George Bush was the legitimate president after the 2000 election debacle in our own fair land. See here.
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