I was deeply disturbed when I opened up The Point News and read Jacob Taylor’s opinion piece, “We Trusted the USSR Back then, But Can We Trust Iran Now?” [Oct 16]. His comparison to the Soviet Union is a shaky one at best. The negotiations with Iran are nothing like those the U.S. government had with Soviets over nuclear weapons. This is a different matter altogether. The CIA overthrew Iran’s popularly elected government of Mohammad Mossedegh in 1953 and installed the Shah, using it as a model for future overthrows of “unfriendly” governments in the Cold War. He brutally ruled the country with the secret police, the SAVAK, trained by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad, which intimidated and tortured political opposition. Additionally, the Shah concentrated wealth in the upper tiers of society with his “White Revolution,” measures that led to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. This is information one must keep in mind.
Still, this is not the major problem I had with this piece. I felt that the piece, while offering “five possible outcomes” for countering Iran, it failed to mention the glaring reality. The US and Israeli intelligence communities, Defense Secretary Leon Peonetta, National Intelligence Directors James Clapper, Vice-President Joe Biden and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak have all agreed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. The Supreme Leader of Iran has called “the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin,” said that “the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous” and that “the Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons.” He also issued a fatwa, which under Shii Islam is a binding ruling by a jurist considering a matter of Islamic law, against Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. There is nothing illegal about its nuclear program, as it is for peaceful uses, specifically to fuel nuclear power plants which would generate electricity.
Saying this, I am not agreeing with the actions of the Iranian rulers. Their rule is no better than that of the Shah in terms of regime brutality against the Iranian citizenry. I wish to also point out that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons of their own, which on top of U.S. military presence around the Islamic Republic of Iran and economic sanctions that hurt ordinary Iranians, causes them to act “irrationally” in the minds of American policymakers. Iran has not declared a war since 1834, so why would one expect them to destroy Israel? Despite popular perception, Iran’s leaders never said that they would wipe Israel out (that was a mistranslation); rather they were decrying the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In contrast to Jacob Taylor who wrote “I do not know what should be done” and his acceptance of Iran possibly acquiring a nuclear weapon, I have a solution. In order to level the playing field for all in the region, there should be the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, so that neither Israel nor Iran can have nukes. I believe that if negotiated through diplomacy, that it is possible to accomplish and would avoid an unnecessary and costly war with Iran that seems around the corner.