Iran Heading for a Crash
Today, Singapore, 31/8/2006
It is now abundantly clear to a concerned world that Iran, unimpressed by the international community’s hesitant attempts to reign it in, continues building up its nuclear capability. Different level’s of Iran’s government have clarified that Iran will go ahead with Uranium enrichment ignoring the demand for its immediate suspension as a precondition to avoid sanctions. At the same time, ominously, Iran’s government has limited supervisory access to its nuclear installations.
Major Western powers are now deliberating if and how to apply some kind of sanctions regime using the UN Security Council’s legitimization to convince Iran to accommodate Western demands. Russia and China, predictably, are playing hard to get and would like this crisis to go away without having to act against Iran, a trade partner and major source of income and/or raw-materials for both. Because of the difficulty to obtain a unified position, the US and some European allies may proceed and apply sanctions against Iran on their own.
This crisis, while dealing with issues of substance, is just as much a struggle over honor and dignity as anything else. The US and its allies, through the United Nations Security Council, are attempting to impose limitations on Iran which is perceived as a potential nuclear threat. Iran, as proud a nation as any, insists on pursuing its inalienable right to advance nuclear technology, regardless of what the world thinks.
Despite Iran’s claims to the contrary all indications are that it does have an active nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately there is precious little evidence, if any, how far along that program is. Paraphrasing a former senior CIA analyst, Iran may test a nuclear device tomorrow, seven years from now or never. At this point in time, the best intelligence services in the world just don’t know.
In such a state of uncertainty, with a regime that periodically calls for the destruction of a UN member nation, Iran should not be surprised that some Western countries are looking at other options as long as the international community as a whole lacks the resolve to impose comprehensive sanctions. Iran should also be aware that Israel cannot and will not take threats against its physical existence lightly, in particular since the international community has to-date found it unnecessary to go beyond cursory condemnations of President Ahmadinejad’s genocidal outbursts against Zionism.
Reviewing the build-up to this crisis, some of those concerned, notably the people of Israel, are pointing at parallels in history when a looming and incipient major threat was first ignored by most, then appeased and later not counteracted early enough forcefully enough, resulting in terrible tragedy. While it is always problematic to make these comparisons, people who were victimized the most by such a major historical disaster will be quick to pick-up on the signs of a possible repetition of history. They, after-all, have experienced it once, they will do all in their power to not let it happen again.
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, despite having been exposed to Nazi philosophies during his student days, may not be “another Hitler”, but some of his declarations certainly invite the comparison. He should take into consideration that the offspring of the people who suffered more from Hitler than anybody else and some of their allies are not likely to take chances and will rather err on the side of caution when dealing with a potential copy-cat.
An Iranian civilian nuclear program is legitimate. As such, it can be accommodated by a concerned Western world and under the right circumstances, even by Israel. Iran’s despicable revisionist worldview calling for the destruction of the Jewish nation, cannot. Iran’s leadership is doing the country a disservice insisting to promote the destruction of Israel and keep its nuclear program unchecked – the conclusion is all too obvious and these goals are mutually exclusive.
A wavering international community unwilling to impose sanctions and challenge Iran will have to bear partial responsibility if the US, once again, may see no alternative but forceful action. US President Bush whose watch is far from over may even provoke the issue in order not to let Iran get away with its nuclear program as is. To avoid calamity Iran must clarify its intentions in the international arena and stop Uranium enrichment now. If any doubt is left and the nuclear program continues unimpeded, the price Iran may be forced to pay will make the damages incurred by Lebanon in the recent war look like a fender-bender.