Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Let's be friends with Iran"

Simon Jenkins ends his piece on Iran in Commentisfree with these words

If ever there was a powerful state to reassure and befriend rather than abuse and threaten, it is Iran. If ever there was a regime not to goad into seeking nuclear weapons it is Iran. Yet that is precisely what British and American policy is doing. It is completely nuts.
Keep that in mind. The British and the Americans are driving the Iranians towards nuclear armaments.

Earlier in the article, he states
Elements within its regime want nuclear weapons. The country is rich and capable of buying the relevant components. The mullahs have sponsored terrorist groups abroad and fiddled elections. In February, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad restarted uranium enrichment at the Natanz plant, in defiance of the UN, and yesterday Iran's nuclear energy chief announced that it had proved successful.
[The Iranians announced as well that they want to install 3,000 centrifuges, which would make them capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a bomb within a year.] Jenkins is dead against any type of intervention, even sanctions, though his reasons seem at first to be as much pragmatic as anything else. China and Russia would oppose sanctions, therefore splitting the international front and leaving the US and Britain isolated. So, war is out; sanctions are out. Instead we should reassure and befriend.

To what end? He acknowledges that this is a regime that wants nuclear weapons and that it is also a regime that has sponsored terrorism abroad. So we should allow this to happen, even, through reassurance and friendship, encourage it, in the full knowledge that these weapons could be used against us and our allies. Is this his plan? He says nothing about how to prevent Iran making these weapons. He doesn't even signal it as a worthwhile aim. In fact, at one point, he defends Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The more the west threatens, the stronger is the case of Tehran's hawks for a nuclear arsenal. Iran is within range of five nuclear powers, including the US. What army would not want a deterrent when the world is awash with crazies?
Note that. The 'crazies' are us. Not the ones expecting the arrival of the 12th Imam and who want Israel obliterated. Bush and Blair are the crazies. Of course, he can't believe Ahmadinejad was serious (he's a victim of the West), just as he can't believe Straw when he rules out armed intervention (a tool of American imperialism).
There was no smoking gun in Iraq, only weapons conjured from the fevered imagination of Downing Street and the intelligence chiefs.
Has he been reading anything but what The Guardian writes?

I don't claim to have a solution to Iran and its ambitions. But I will not start my search for one based on the assumption that whatever we do must be wrong and whatever they do must be forgiven because it's our fault anyway. It's not only childishly inadequate; it's also cowardly.

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