25 May 2009

Everything you know about Iran is wrong

So says Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek. Its not that long and it could have gone further, but its definitely a sign that the US elites are getting nervous with the ignorant posturing of the intellectual pygmies Netanyahu and Lieberman, and their lunatic threats against Iran.

Some clips:

Everything you know about Iran is wrong, or at least more complicated than you think. Take the bomb. The regime wants to be a nuclear power but could well be happy with a peaceful civilian program (which could make the challenge it poses more complex). What's the evidence? Well, over the last five years, senior Iranian officials at every level have repeatedly asserted that they do not intend to build nuclear weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has quoted the regime's founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who asserted that such weapons were "un-Islamic." The country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa in 2004 describing the use of nuclear weapons as immoral. In a subsequent sermon, he declared that "developing, producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons is forbidden under Islam." Last year Khamenei reiterated all these points after meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei. Now, of course, they could all be lying. But it seems odd for a regime that derives its legitimacy from its fidelity to Islam to declare constantly that these weapons are un-Islamic if it intends to develop them. It would be far shrewder to stop reminding people of Khomeini's statements and stop issuing new fatwas against nukes.
Iranians aren't suicidal. In an interview last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the Iranian regime as "a messianic, apocalyptic cult." In fact, Iran has tended to behave in a shrewd, calculating manner, advancing its interests when possible, retreating when necessary. The Iranians allied with the United States and against the Taliban in 2001, assisting in the creation of the Karzai government. They worked against the United States in Iraq, where they feared the creation of a pro-U.S. puppet on their border. Earlier this year, during the Gaza war, Israel warned Hizbullah not to launch rockets against it, and there is much evidence that Iran played a role in reining in their proxies. Iran's ruling elite is obsessed with gathering wealth and maintaining power. The argument made by those—including many Israelis for coercive sanctions against Iran is that many in the regime have been squirreling away money into bank accounts in Dubai and Switzerland for their children and grandchildren. These are not actions associated with people who believe that the world is going to end soon.
One of Netanyahu's advisers said of Iran, "Think Amalek." The Bible says that the Amalekites were dedicated enemies of the Jewish people. In 1 Samuel 15, God says, "Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Now, were the president of Iran and his advisers to have cited a religious text that gave divine sanction for the annihilation of an entire race, they would be called, well, messianic.


Also check out the follow up interview on ABC of Adm Mullen here.

While admitting he has no proof, and in spite of evidence to the contrary, Mullen insisted that Iran has a “strategic objective” to create nuclear weapons and that their leadership is committed to it. Stephanopoulus, a former official in the Clinton Administration, pressed Mullen further on Iran’s public position against nuclear weapons, and the Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa against the weapons. The admiral dodged the question, saying he didn’t believe Iran really meant it...

"STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me also press the question of their strategic intent. "Newsweek" has a cover story out. Let me show you. It says that everything you think you know about Iran is wrong. And one of the points that Fareed Zakaria makes in "Newsweek" is he points out on several occasions over the last several years, Iran's leaders have said they're not interested in having nuclear weapons. They have said that nuclear weapons are immoral. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei actually issued a fatwah saying that these weapons are, indeed, immoral.

And I guess, it's possible they could just be lying. But it does seem odd that a country that the Islamic Republic that bases its legitimacy on being a guardian of Islam that would develop weapons that it considers immoral. That would seem to undercut their own legitimacy.

MULLEN: Well, I think that speaks to the importance of the dialogue that President Obama has stated he wants to initiate and to really wring out, whether that's how the Supreme Leader feels. Certainly from what I've seen, Iran on a path to developing nuclear weapons.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't believe it? That they don't want nuclear weapons.

MULLEN: At this point no."

Watch the video here.

And meanwhile half a country shows itself to be criminally insane: "Half of Israelis back immediate strike on Iran" while AFP shows itself to be criminally negligent by repeating the dicredited canard of: "repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map."

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