18 November 2011

A reminder of why Iran wants nuclear weapons

From an essay in The Guardian:
It is a disturbing image: your country, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is surrounded on all sides by virulent enemies and regional rivals, both nuclear and non-nuclear.

On your eastern border, the United States has 100,000 troops serving in Afghanistan. On your western border, the US has been occupying Iraq since 2003 and plans to retain a small force of military contractors and CIA operatives even after its official withdrawal next month. Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation, is to the south-east; Turkey, America's Nato ally, to the north-west; Turkmenistan, which has acted as a refuelling base for US military transport planes since 2002, to the north-east. To the south, across the Persian Gulf, you see a cluster of US client states: Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet; Qatar, host to a forward headquarters of US Central Command; Saudi Arabia, whose king has exhorted America to "attack Iran" and "cut off the head of the snake".

Then, of course, less than a thousand miles to the west, there is Israel, your mortal enemy, in possession of over a hundred nuclear warheads and with a history of pre-emptive aggression against its opponents. The map makes it clear: Iran is, literally, encircled by the United States and its allies...

Nonetheless, wouldn't it be rational for Iran – geographically encircled, politically isolated, feeling threatened – to want its own arsenal of nukes, for defensive and deterrent purposes? The US government's Nuclear Posture Review admits such weapons play an "essential role in deterring potential adversaries" and maintaining "strategic stability" with other nuclear powers. In 2006, the UK's Ministry of Defence claimed our own strategic nuclear deterrent was designed to "deter and prevent nuclear blackmail and acts of aggression against our vital interests that cannot be countered by other means"...
Not even discussed in the article are the nuclear warheads in Pakistan and India.  Reading the article reminded me that last year the Iranian leader agreed to remain nuclear free, if...
Ahmadinejad aligned himself with the demand put forward by Egypt, backed by other moderate Arab regimes, for the enforcement of a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East... 
That, of course, was a non-starter.  Sigh.


  1. If the rest of the world would just go away they could be left to murdering their own citizen, hanging homosexuals,burning books, and perverting faith to control the populace.

  2. "...the Islamic Republic of Iran, is surrounded on all sides by virulent enemies and regional rivals..."

    Is "surrounded on all sides" one of those phrases that drives me crazy but that everyone else uses all the time without realizing that it's redundant? Or is it possible to be, say, surrounded on two sides?

  3. You are absolutely correct, Jerry - well played, sir.

    But of course I can't resist pointing out that if the author was guilty of redundancy, then you are guilty of hyperbole - twice ("everyone else/all the time").


  4. Let's invade Iran, it's the only country that hates America and doesn't have an atomic bomb. They are brutal murderers of homossexuals and freedom haters. Let's invade it from Saudi Arabia.

  5. Everyone should take a moment to ponder the subtle irony of the concluding sentence in Paulo's comment.

    Well said, Paulo.

  6. and perverting faith to control the populace

    Please read a history of Iran and a history of The United States.

  7. Is there a word that you should use to instead of "surrounded" and emphasize the severity if you are threatened from the east and north, but not from the redundant "all directions"?

  8. adeus, "surrounded" by itself is sufficient. To add "on all sides" is like saying "It's 7 a.m. in the morning."

  9. Exactly, but I meant the other way. What's the word for "slightly less than surrounded" meaning threatened from the e.g. east/west but not from to other direction, Which probably feels like "surrounded" if you are at war.

  10. "Please read a history of Iran and a history of The United States."

    If/when you do, take notice of the fact that Iran used to have a popular, democratically-elected president. The United States arranged to have him overthrown in order to install a dictator (the Shah) and his secret police.

  11. Too often in history shortsighted leaders create situations where short-term goals are realized and the possible long-term consequences are either ignored or not fully realized. This occurs too frequently in foreign policy.

  12. In remembering a Jewish story of a community on a hilltop 'surrounded on all sides' (I couldn't resist) whose answer was a single volunteer to slaughter their own people (somehow this consentual homocide is considered more forgivable than actual suicide?), I was half expecting Sadam to do the same thing 'for' Iraq - using a small team to level his own country once Bagdad had been reached. Had he the nukes it would have been a glorious trap that would have robbed the invading nations of their bounty while ushering his people to their ideal end (heaven). But the joke was on all of us. No WMDs, no oil could ever cover the costs, and the nightmare marches on.

  13. Ahem, my drinking took me off the target of my point (and now the post drinking attempt) - The lesson the world has learned is that if Sadam really did have nukes, nobody would have touched him. How sad that the key to soveriegnty(sp) in our 'advanced' society is to ensure mutual destruction?
    I would not be surprised if there are already polite warnings between countries like "so help me, if you cause collateral radiation to cross our borders while serving your own causes, we will respond likewise as this is no less than an act of reckless aggression against our people"

  14. AUGH.

    1. Redundancy isn't always a bad thing! Nothing wrong with saying "surrounded on all sides". Language isn't modal logic.

    2. Any critiques of how crazy Iran is can be applied to Saudia Arabia and many other nations. (Look at journalist who just got suspended for asking a saudi prince difficult questions. Our discourse is impossibly slanted and hypocritical.)

    I have absolutely no problem with Iran wanting nukes. Do *I* want them to have nukes? No. But I don't want Israel, or ANYONE, to have nukes. But as long as they do, Iran has every right to them themselves.

  15. It's like Cuba in a way. They kicked us out after we supported a dictator that murdered and robbed it's people. He's replaced by a leader who does the same only does it to "prevent' the USA from doing it. We never seem to learn. This pattern is the way we conduct ourselves the world over. And sooner or later it bites us on our ass.

  16. When you read the history of Iran, you really need to compare and contrast the treatment of women before the Shah, and after the 1979 Revolution.
    Ahmadinejad is a horrible person.
    I don't think he will be any better with Nukes.


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