Who wants a nuclear Iran?
By Greg Strange
Looks like hearty congratulations are in order for the new Iranian president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If alcohol were legal in Iran, there would no doubt have been champagne toasts all around to celebrate his "election" and the ushering in of . . . well, the next leg of the same old stultifying repression and bellicosity that has kept intact the country's status as outlaw regime and economic basket case. Which, come to think of it, kind of puts a damper on the celebratory spirit of average Iranians who have to live under such rule.
But anyway, alcohol is not legal, nor is much of anything else that doesn't pass muster with Islamic fundamentalism. And Ahmadinejad isn't likely to be in the vanguard of any revolutionary changes along the lines of allowing more freedoms. After all, Ahmadinejad's biggest claim to fame is the segregating of elevators for men and women in municipal buildings in Tehran during his ultra-conservative tenure there as mayor. Progressive, he ain't.
In addition, several of the 66 Americans who were originally taken hostage in 1979 by Iranian revolutionaries are convinced after seeing Ahmadinejad's picture in the news that he was one of their captors. Having endured the confinement and the humiliation of the 444-day "crisis" that cooked Jimmy Carter's goose, they aren't particularly amused by Iran's electoral process.
Iran vehemently denies the charge and even U.S. government officials have their doubts. Whatever the truth may be, he is the reality that we now have to deal with, though it hardly matters since it's the mad mullahs who are really running the show in Iran.
Before the Iranian election it was quite a hoot to see mainstream American media outfits like the New York Times, Washington Post and others describe Ahmadinejad's opponent, the Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, as far and away the preferable choice due to his being a "moderate," a "pragmatist" and a "liberal." Yep, he's just a prince of a fellow to hear them tell it.
But you have to wonder if a guy who segregates elevators is really worse than the guy, Rafsanjani, who said the following: "When the Islamic world acquires atomic weapons, the strategy of the West will hit a dead end -- since the use of a single atomic bomb has the power to destroy Israel completely, while an Israeli counterstrike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world."
The media must have let that statement slip through the cracks of their otherwise crack reportage because it's hard to read that statement and still refer to Rafsanjani as a moderate or as the guy who "has appeared more willing to negotiate [with the West] on the nuclear program." On the contrary, the Iran Press Service described him as the first "prominent leader of the Islamic Republic" to openly suggest "the use of a nuclear weapon against the Jewish State." Hey, at least the Iranian media got it right.
So, the guy who segregates elevators or the guy who advocates the atomic destruction of Israel: which one is preferable? It's a silly question, really, since it's pretty safe to assume that everyone in a position of serious power in Iran is on board with Rafsanjani's atomic reverie. And in fact, as soon as Ahmadinejad got the word that he had won the election, he promised to accelerate Iran's nuclear program.
When Iran does go nuclear -- and it appears to be a matter of when, not if -- the Middle East will obviously become a far more dangerous place. The madcap mullahs and addlebrained ayatollahs who run the country that is the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism want to believe that nukes will make them safer. The idea is that nobody is going to attack a country that possesses nuclear weapons because the consequences would be too devastating.
But smart Iranians know better than to derive any comfort from that line of reasoning as long as people like Rafsanjani contemplate nuking Israel and blather about the Israeli counterstrike only doing "partial damage to the Islamic world." Sure, Algiers, Rabat, Palembang and Surabaya will come out unscathed, but you can bet your sweet Quran that the only thing left of Iran's major cities after a nuclear attack on Israel would be smoldering radioactive holes in the ground.
Other people with cause for concern would be the Palestinians since they happen to live in territories that are contiguous to the tiny country of Israel. Unless Iran creates an extremely sophisticated nuke whose effects can stop at the Israeli border, Palestinians definitely wouldn't be dancing in the streets like they did on 9/11. It would be a real shame for them to be blasted into the ether along with their hated Jewish enemies since the Islamic world's main justification for its abject hatred of Israel is what they consider the unlawful displacement of the Palestinians. Even for those who survived, what good is the right of return to a Palestine that's going to be a glow-in-the-dark wasteland for thousands of years?
The idea that Iran could nuke Israel, right the supposed wrong done to the Palestinians and survive to tell about it is a towering, monumental idiocy that defies all human rationality. But such are the thought processes of those who wield power in Iran.
It is widely known that Iranians are sick and tired of living in a repressive, economic basket case of a regime that is irrationally obsessed with hatred of the West and the destruction of Israel, and which offers its people nothing other than Islamic madness and continued backwardness. For several years there have been significant and persistent demonstrations against the regime and in favor of democratic reforms. Iran is considered by many to be ripe for a democratic revolution to overturn the Islamic one that has brought them nothing but grief.
Pray that it be soon, before Iran goes nuclear and potentially sows the seeds of its own destruction, as well as that of Israel and possibly others in the region. It is desirable, of course, that the Islamic Republic be relegated to the dust bin of history, but preferably without a nuclear holocaust.
(c) 2005 Greg Strange.
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