Friday, May 05, 2006

Scared of Iran?

A few important points:

First, according to certain translations Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never threatened to wipe Israel off the map... He was quoting an old speech of Khomeini when he said "the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time." This is often mis-translated, according to some. Whether you agree or not, at least it should be recognized that the statement was not as clear-cut as those flinging it about seem to think. Read more at Wikipedia.

Secondly, The commander of the armed forces is the Supreme Jurisprudent, Ali Khamenei. The Iranian military isn't controlled by the president any more than the "US military will act on the orders of the secretary of the interior." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is actually pretty powerless.

Thirdly, there is a premise here that the US has the right and responsibility "to launch an unprovoked attack on a country because it might, at some point, develop one one-thousandth of the nuclear capacity that we ourselves have." This is why it is so important for everyone to buy into the "nuclear mad-man story". The story goes something like this: Iran can't be trusted to have nukes, because unlike the USA, "a homicidal maniac with no regard for human life runs the country". There is a possibility that they have the bomb, but the USA has around 10,000 nukes. Who's policing the self-proclaimed police?

I'm not defending Ahmadinejad, but we need to stick to reality. It is a mistake to let irrational fear provide the excuse for another war. Sure, Iran may be ruled by an authoritarian regime, but that is no excuse for waging war - do we want another Iraq?

We need to support the struggles of the progressive Iranian women, youth, students, and activists who are doing courageous and creative things to promote their freedom. The Persian culture is rich and vibrant and needs to be respected, despite tyrranical rule.

Read more from Juan Cole's article which inspired Joshua Holland's piece.
More on Middle East, Politics

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