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Iran’s Tug of War with America

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    Going Nuclear – Iran s Tug of War with America by Dr. Habib Siddiqui ======================================================== President Bush recently visited
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2005
      Going Nuclear – Iran's Tug of War with America

      by Dr. Habib Siddiqui

      ========================================================

      President Bush recently visited Europe in a five-day fence-mending
      journey. Everywhere he went, if there was a persistent theme it was
      that `Iran should not have a nuclear weapon.' In that he reached
      agreement with leaders of the EU countries.[1] On the final leg of
      his tour he even tried to persuade his post-9/11 on-again and off-
      again `buddy' Vladimir Putin in the Slovak capital of Bratislava
      into not selling nuclear fuel to Iran. Putin reminded Bush that he
      had no proof that Iran wanted to acquire the nuclear technology for
      anything but peaceful means.



      Bush also tried to sell his version of `freedom' and `democracy' to
      the Russian leader. There again he miserably failed to induce Putin,
      who in his turn did not fail to mention that Russia would follow its
      own version of the both, and did not need any lecturing on the
      subject of democracy from someone who would not have graced
      presidency if were it not for those appointed judges in the Supreme
      Court that decided the case (four years ago), in spite of trailing
      Gore in popular vote counting.[2]



      Since Bush first came to power, he and his neocon advisers (most of
      whom are Zionists) set up an agenda that has been doggedly anti-
      Iran, alleging the latter to belong to an `axis of evil.' Iraq is
      now under the U.S. occupation, in spite of not possessing the WMDs,
      and North Korea has declared that it has nuclear bombs. This
      declaration does not seem to alarm the Bushies as much as the
      perceived threat from a `nuclear' Iran. But why, one ponders, when
      North Korea (and not Iran) is closer to the USA?



      It is ludicrous to think that America, with the largest stockpile of
      nuclear arsenals and a yearly military budget of more than $500
      billion (almost equal to the military budget of the rest of the
      world), is afraid of Iran (whose military expenditure is less than a
      percent of America's military budget), even if the latter were to
      develop nuclear weapons.[3]



      The reason for America's agitation is obvious: Israel. Everything
      the neocons and the `Amen Corner' in the Capitol Hill can think or
      dream about vis-à-vis the Middle East involves Israel.[4] They are
      not serious about a nuclear-free Middle East but about a nuclear-
      free and emasculated Arab and Muslim world that could never
      challenge the Zionist state. Obviously, no one in Washington ever
      dares to question why the rogue state has not signed the Nuclear Non-
      Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory; or about an
      inspection of Israel's main installations at Dimona that house a
      large arsenal of around 200 nuclear missiles, as most independent
      analyst believe.[5] That is the level of evil, two-facedness with
      which Washington has sealed its image!



      Thus, when Iran says that it wants to acquire the nuclear technology
      to provide the much-needed cheap power (and clean-air) to its
      people, the friends of Israel in Washington are troubled. They know
      that Iran's becoming a nuclear power would alter the imbalance of
      power in the Middle East, curbing the tactical advantage of Israel.
      [6] It would be a stabilizing force in a much-troubled area.
      Therefore, they complain: would not Iran's becoming a nuclear power
      threaten our ally (and rampart) in the Middle East? They
      hypocritically argue: "Why should Iran go for nuclear power, when it
      sits on a sea of oil?"[7] Interestingly, when asked about the
      rationale behind America's (which also sits on a large sea of oil)
      own relentless obsession with nuclear technology, they don't have
      any satisfactory answer.[8] If it was the threat from nations on the
      other side of the Pacific and the Atlantic, should not Iran have at
      least the same right to protect itself, now that it is surrounded on
      all sides by hostile, pro-American satellite states (let alone
      Israel, with a history of aggression against Muslim states)?



      After all, whether we like it or not, nuclear power has acted as a
      deterrent in many places. For example, since possessing the bomb,
      India and China have not fought a single war. Nor has there been a
      major conflict with Pakistan after the latter also acquired the
      bomb. For France, the nuclear deterrent symbolized the country's
      independence from Washington and, at one stage, from the European
      Community. Truly, there has not been a single world war since
      America dropped bombs in Japan.



      Ayatullah Ali Khamenie, Iranian supreme leader, declared on November
      5, 2004 during a Friday Khutbah that `developing, producing or
      stockpiling nuclear weapons" is haram under Islam. While such a
      profound statement should have been sufficient to stop the
      controversy, the fact that Washington has not relented from its
      accusations show the level of enmity she holds against Iran, since
      the hostage crisis.



      For several months, the policy planners inside the Pentagon have
      been studying three major tactical options: full-scale of invasion
      of Iran, surgical strikes of Iranian nuclear and missile
      installations, and surrogate strike by Israel – modeled along the
      lines of Osirak. None of these options are considered viable for
      they would increase the prospect of counter-strikes on American
      assets around the world.[9] According to investigative journalist
      Seymour Hersh, Pentagon planners are considering covert actions
      against Iran[10]. In a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia's
      Capitol Theater in the Washington State, Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine
      turned UNSCOM weapons inspector (an anti-war activist now), told
      that George W. Bush has "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June
      2005, and claimed that the U.S. manipulated the results of the
      recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq[11]. Nothing would surprise me with
      the entourage that surrounds President Bush![12]



      On the day of Presidential inauguration, January 20, '05, vice
      president Dick Cheney, in an interview aired on MSNBC, said, "You
      look around the world of potential trouble spots, Iran is right at
      the top of the list. Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy
      that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis
      might well decide to act first and let the rest of the world worry
      about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."[13] Is Mr. Cheney
      giving the cue to Israel for preemptive strikes? Is there a
      connection with the recent appointment of a former air force general
      to the chief of staff position in Israel?[14] How is Iran on the top
      of the potential trouble list compared to so many more deserving
      contenders for the title, including Israel and the United States,
      responsible for so much of human suffering since Sharon and Bush
      came to power?[15] Who, one wonders, can teach new tricks to an old
      dog or a prejudiced man to forego chauvinism?



      On February 27, '05 to the dismay of the Bush Administration, Russia
      signed an agreement to sell nuclear fuel for Iran's only nuclear
      reactor at Bushehr, in southern Iran. The first consignment of
      enriched uranium would be dispatched to Iran from Siberia in the
      middle of the next year. The deal helps Russia in several ways,
      e.g., the hard cash that it badly needs, the future bargaining power
      from the G-7 countries (especially from the USA) and resurrecting
      its image as an alternative world power willing to stand up to the
      bullying and buying power of Washington. And the agreement could not
      have come at a better time for Russia given the fact that in much of
      the Muslim world there is now so much loathing and apprehension
      about Bush's motives and moves. The latter's illegal invasion and
      occupation of Iraq has made the country the most insecure place on
      earth.[16] So, the deal helps Russia to gravitate the Muslim world
      towards her. By all measures, it is a win-win situation for Russia.
      And, if Putin is smart, he should not bargain this new image for a
      shortsighted tactic that would only seal his nation's fate as a
      double-crossing partner. (It is in Russia's interest that it should
      look eastward and try to encourage the formation of an Asian Union,
      modeled similar to that of the European Union. A multi-polar world
      is truly more secure than a mono-polar world left to the mercy of a
      Hulagu Khan wannabe.)



      The deal with Iran stipulates that Russia will take the spent fuel
      back home, a move that guarantees prevention of nuclear
      proliferation. Yet, many in Washington are upset. John McCain, the
      maverick senator from Arizona, and a leading Republican member of
      the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused Putin of carrying
      out `aberrational' policies and acting `like a spoiled child.' He
      said that Russia should not be invited to the G8 summit in
      Gleneagles in July. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed
      McCain: "It is time for the Russian government to pay a price for
      empowering the bad guys and slipping back away from democracy."[17]
      I am not at all surprised by such reactions from friends of the
      rogue state. They epitomize hypocrisy and only prove that Muslims
      cannot trust them for a balanced and fair foreign policy.



      For the last few months, western countries have been playing the
      roles of good cop and bad cop with Iran. While some progress has
      been made to lessen the potential nuclear crisis diplomatically
      though the mediating efforts of Britain, France and Germany, the
      latest report from Reuters implies that Bush is considering joining
      the Europeans in offering Iran incentives. The incentives may
      include permission, long denied by the USA, for Iran to join the
      WTO. If the report is true, offering economic incentives for Iran to
      halt development of its nuclear program would mark a significant
      shift in US policy, one not welcome in some Washington circles[18]



      History is replete with examples of Western duplicity against Muslim
      nations. Today it is the USA, yesterday it was France, Italy and
      Britain, and the day before yesterday Spain, Holland and Russia.
      And the tragic cycle of betrayal goes on, sometimes with newer
      faces. The nations of the West must earn their trust before the
      Muslim world will rely on them.



      Iran has a long and vivacious bazaar culture that predisposes it to
      be a cautious and good faith negotiator. Hopefully, an honorable and
      just solution to this crisis can and will be found that won't cost
      human lives.



      March 3, 2005



      ---------------------------------------------------------------------

      [1] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?
      tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20050223/ap_on_re_eu/bush

      [2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4292807.stm;

      http://www.nj.com/newsflash/washington/index.ssf?/base/politics-
      4/1109255657174350.xml&storylist=washington#continue; see also PBS

      TV discussion "Washington Week" with Gwen Ifill..

      [3] See the CIA Fact sheet for comparable statistics. Iran's
      military expenditure in 2003 was reported by CIA to be $4.3 billion.
      According to the World Bank database (September, 2004) Iran's total
      GDP in 2003 was $137 billion, which is less than America's military
      budget; America's GDP was $10.9 trillion. (See also:
      http://www.sipri.org/contents/milap/milex/mex_major_spenders.pdf)

      [4] Philip Zelikow, a former member of a top-level White House
      intelligence group PFIAB, speaking on a panel of foreign policy
      experts at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002,
      said, "Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against
      us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat is and actually has
      been since 1990 – it's the threat against Israel." (See the article:
      Iraq was invaded `to protect Israel' – US official, Asia Times,
      Feb. 15, 2005 for details.)

      [5] See, e.g., http://www.aljazeerah.info/4%20o/Israeli%20Nuclear%
      20Terrorism%20By%20Steve%20Jones.htm.

      [6] See, e.g., Roger Howard's articles:"Why Israel Really Fears
      Iranian Nukes" - parts 1 and 2, November 27, 2004 and February 26,
      2005,

      http://www.antiwar.com.

      [7] See Senator McCain's remark reported by Reuters, Feb. 27, 2005
      (Sen. McCain: Bar Russia from G8 Over Iran Deal by Randall
      Mikkelsen).

      [8] USGS estimates the identified reserves of oil in the USA at 51
      billion barrels (the comparative figure for Iran is 69.2). The
      undiscovered oil in the USA is estimated at 44 billion barrels
      (Iran's figure is 22 billion barrels, nearly half of the USA) (see:


      http://energy.er.usgs.gov/products/papers/World_oil/oil/nam_oil_table
      .htm). The total oil consumption in the USA in 2003 was approx. 20
      million barrels/day. See also:

      http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/oil/. One should not also be
      oblivious of the fact that America caps its own reservoirs from
      producing oil while clamoring for cheap oil from outside. Truly, if
      prudent methods for secondary and tertiary oil recoveries are
      practiced in its oil rigs, America need not be dependent on Middle
      Eastern oil for at least a couple of decades. During primary oil
      recovery only about 20% (maximum) oil is recovered, leaving behind
      almost 80%. (For a detailed study on viscous fingering, miscible and
      immiscible fluid displacement processes in disordered porous media,
      see this author's papers in the Journal of Physics and Chemical
      Engineering Science, published between 1983-91.)

      [9] Rep. Jim Leach, "Get Real: The Case for Restraint with Iran,"
      www.antiwar.com, November 30, 2004.

      [10] See Seymour Hersh's article "The coming wars: What the Pentagon
      can now do in secret" in the New Yorker magazine, Jan. 24-31, 2005
      for a detailed discussion on the subject.

      [11] See Scott Ritter's comment:
      http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/02/1722945.php. A recent visit to
      Algeria by Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme
      National Security Council, was aimed at "sending a clear message to
      Washington that Iran is ready to defend its right to possess nuclear
      energy for peaceful purposes,"

      (http://www.wpherald.com/Middle_East/storyview.php?
      StoryID=20050227-074506-2580r).

      [12] Quoting a government consultant with close ties to the
      Pentagon, Seymour Hersh writes: "The civilians in the Pentagon want
      to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure
      as possible." He also writes, "… the Defense Department civilians,
      under the leadership of Douglas Feith, have been working with
      Israeli planners and consultants to develop and refine potential
      nuclear, chemical-weapons, and missile targets inside Iran. …
      Rumsfeld and two of his key deputies, Stephen Cambone, the Under-
      secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General
      William G. (Jerry) Boykin, will be part of the chain of command for
      the new commando operations. Relevant members of the House and
      Senate intelligence committees have been briefed on the Defense
      Department's expanded role in covert affairs, a Pentagon adviser
      assured me, …" (Op. cit.)

      [13] Cheney says: Iran tops U.S. list, warns Israel, Jan. 20, 2005
      (Reuters).

      [14] General Dan Halutz was chosen by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz
      on Feb. 22 to become the new chief of staff.

      http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=676920&C=mideast

      [15] Since September 29, 2000, Israeli Defense Forces have murdered
      nearly 3600 Palestinians, and injured another 30,000. Bush, in his
      turn, has killed more than 100,000 civilian Iraqis, mostly women and
      children. The death toll of Afghans is estimated to be close to ten
      thousand.

      [16] As I write this article (February 28, 2005), more than 115
      Iraqis died in a mysterious car bomb, with few hundreds injured. Per
      international law, the protection of the people in the `occupied
      territories' is the responsibility of the occupying force. In this,
      Bush has terribly failed.

      [17] CNN's "Late Edition," February 27, 2005.

      [18] During Bush's visit to Europe, he said that he wants diplomacy
      to succeed, while at the same time threatening that `all the options
      are on the table.' Interestingly (and not surprisingly), the latter
      theme was articulated by Patrick Clawson, deputy director of WINEP
      (a supporter of the Administration), in a Dec. 16, 2004 essay –
      Carrots for Iran? Lessons from Libya – where he wrote: "If in fact
      Europe wants to reach a trans-Atlantic consensus about Iran, then
      Europe would do well to remind Iran that the military option remains
      on the table." (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?
      CID=2205)

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