Wednesday, June 18, 2003

George W. said today that "we will not tolerate construction of a nuclear weapon" in Iran. While the Bush record on nuclear proliferation isn't terribly reassuring, focusing all on sticks and almost nothing on carrots, we might all be hopeful that Iran will not go nuclear. A popular view in the West seems to be that the Iranian nuclear program is fueled by the mullahs and radical Islam. Thus stirs the neocon fantasy -- regime change in Tehran equals enhanced US security and a non-nuclear Iran.

Two flies in this ointment.
  • as an old op-ed from December by an Iranian student leader points out (blogged today by Abu Aardvark),
    What is it that the protesters are saying? The original ideals of the 1979 Iranian Revolution were democracy and social justice, coupled with a respect for the nation's distinct cultural identity. . . . The proud traditions and norms of Iran are what the students seek to revitalize. Theirs is not a counterrevolution but a completion of the present one.
    This is hardly some kind of fall-in-your-lap I-love-George-W. kind of movement. While certainly reformist, Khatami and his supporters aren�t likely to roll over for American Empire.

  • Nuclear weapons expert George Perkovich notes the �nationalistic attraction of nuclear weapons in a society like Iran�. Similarly to Pakistan, a change in regime and a change in ideology did nothing to change the long-term state goal of joining the nuclear club. In light of both US and Israeli possession of huge numbers of nuclear weapons combined with their long-standing hostility to the Iranian Revolution in any form, it makes sense for Tehran under any realistic regime to want nukes.
When the countries most interested in stopping the birth of a nuclear Iran (US, UK, France, Russia) are the same ones showing absolutely no interest in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (signed in 1968), namely that
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
the use of force at the end of the day seems likely.

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