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Guest Voice

Isolating or Attacking Iran Won't Work

By Maziar Bahari

I did the following interview with Dr. Akbar Etemad for the British magazine New Statesman. Some may find Dr. Etemad's comments in support of current nuclear policy of the Islamic Goverment to be surprising. After all, he was a high-ranking official in the Shah's government, which was toppled by the current regime. Yet like millions of Iranians, who are not particularly fond of the Islamic Republic, Dr. Etemad thinks of the Iran's nuclear program as a national issue that doesn't have to do with any particular government in Iran.

I think in the light of the light of the upcoming meeting of permenanent members of UN Security Council and Germany, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's next week's visit to New York, Dr. Etemad's interview will provide good background to any reporting of Iran's nuclear program.

*****************************

Dr. Akbar Etemad is the father of Iran's nuclear program. After obtaining his Ph.D. in nuclear reactor physics from Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne in 1963, he was appointed head of the Reactor Shieding Groupe at the Federal Institute for Reactor Research in Switzerland. Etemad returned to Iran in 1965 and became a nuclear advisor to the Iranian government. He was the president of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) between 1974 and 1978.

The rising oil prices of early 1970s allowed the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to embark on ambitious industrial and military projects. Under Etemad's supervision, Iran launched an extensive nuclear energy program. The goal was to produce roughly 20000 megawatts of electrical power from a series of nuclear power stations within 20 years. A host of contracts between Iran and nuclear suppliers followed. Iran struck a deal with Kraftwerk Union, a Siemens subsidiary located at the time in West Germany, to build two 1200 megawatt reactors at Bushehr. An additional deal with the French company Framatome arranged for two additional 900 megawatt reactors. Iran also invested in a French uranium enrichment plant owned by Eurodif, a European consortium, to obtain 10% of company and secure the enrichment services needed for its nuclear program.

The Shah's plans and Iran's cooperation with Europe came to an abrupt halt after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Many of Etemad's colleagues left the country and Etemad left Iran for France, where he has been living for the past 30 years. He established a consulting office (Energium SARL) in Paris and worked for nuclear industry in Europe. Yet losing his position has not made him bitter. He primarily blames the Europeans and the Americans for the current Iranian nuclear crisis. He believes that the west does not respect Iran's sovereignty - and that it is natural for Iranians not to trust Europeans and Americans.

Q - Could you tell us about the history of Iran's nuclear technology ?

A - When Dwight Eisenhower initiated his Atoms for Peace program in 1953, Iran was one of the first countries to receive a small nuclear reactor. It was primarily used for university research. Then, in the early 1970s, the Shah came to the conclusion that Iran should develop its nuclear technology. We needed nuclear power plants to generate electricity: the population was increasing and people were using more electricity than before.

Q - Did you ever ask the Shah why he decided to develop Iran's nuclear program when Iran had large oil and gas reserves ?

A - The Shah always believed that oil should not just be burned to produce energy. He used to tell other world leaders that oil is an industrial product and we only have a limited amount of it available to us. He thought that everyone should be looking for alternative sources of energy.

Q - What did the American government, Iran's main ally at the time, think of Iran's nuclear policy ?

A - They agreed with Iran's nuclear policy, but with some reservations. Our negotiations with the Americans started in 1974. From the beginning, they had the precondition that they should have control over the back end of our nuclear fuel cycle. Both the Ford and Carter administrations told us privately that they did not have any issues with the Iranian government. The problem was that Yugoslavia, Egypt and a number of other countries were waiting to see what Iran and the U.S. would agree to. The Americans were asking us to compromise so they could replicate the agreement with other countries. I remember President Ford even wrote a private letter to the Shah asking for more flexibility. But I told the Shah that the Americans' relationship with other countries is their own problem. We must think about our national interest and have total control over our own fuel cycle. The Shah agreed with me and put my comments in his reply to Ford.

Q - Did the Shah ever tell you that he may have wanted to build nuclear weapons ?

A - I thought that maybe a part of the Shah's plan was to build bombs. So I came up with a plan to clarify the situation. I asked the Shah if I could spend a few hours every week teaching him about nuclear technology. I thought he should know enough about nuclear technology to avoid misperception. At the end of the sixth months, I asked him : "So now that you have a good grasp of the technology, what direction do you want to take? Do you want to use it only for peaceful purposes, or also to build bombs? I have to know that in order to plan it."

We talked for about three hours, and the Shah told me his ideas about Iranian defense strategy. He thought that Iran's conventional army was already the most powerful in the region, and believed that Iran did not need nuclear weapons at that moment. He also realized that if Iran developed nuclear weapons, the west would not cooperate with it. But he said: this is the situation today. If in the future the balance of power changes in the region, we have to reconsider our policy and see what other options we have for our security and the protection of our national interests. I asked if nuclear weapons could be one of the options. He said, "We shall see, why not?" Having this in mind, I think that if the Shah had remained in power he would have developed nuclear weapons because now Pakistan, India and Israel all have them.

Q - The current government of Iran says that its reasons for developing its nuclear program are also peaceful. What do you think about the nuclear policy of the Islamic government?

A - You may be able to criticize certain aspects of current Iranian nuclear policy. But the west has isolated Iran. The Europeans and the Americans, for instance, are not even providing them with commercial airplanes or spare parts for the old planes they are operating. So Iran has to buy secondhand Russian planes that fail every now and then and kill many Iranians every year. But young Iranian scientists are developing Iran's nuclear technology without any help from the west.This is something that I am really proud of.

Q - The Europeans and the U.S. argue that Iran has forfeited its right to enrich uranium because of what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described as "patterns of concealment" in the 1980s and 1990s.

A - This is not a legal argument. I am not sure what happened in the past. But even if they were not transparent 20 years ago, it does not mean that Iran cannont enjoy its right to enrich uranium within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Many countries have lapsed in reporting their activities but were never punished. Iran has fully co-operated with the IAEA over the past five years. The west has only "suspicions." And suspicions have no legal weight.


Q - You do not think that the Iranian government is trying to build nuclear weapons ?

A - I am not a mind reader. The Iranian government says that it doesn't want to build bombs. But if you ask me, the way the west is isolating Iran leaves it no choice but to build nuclear weapons. Iran has nothing to lose and nothing to fear from sanctions anymore. When Israel threatens to attack Iran, it dares to do so because it has nuclear weapons and Iran does not. The Iranian government may now see them [nuclear weapons] as the only way they can defend themselves.

Q - It seems that the Iranian government is preoccupied with its survival. Do you think if the west, especially the Americans, guaranteed the security and survival of the Islamic regime, the regime would then be more flexible in its nuclear stance ?

A - Definitely. Iran wants the nuclear negotiations to be part of a bigger package that guarantees its security. If the west can assure Iranian officials that they do not want to isolate Iran and indicate clearly their readiness to ease the pressures exercised on it, Iranians would be more willing to negotiate. The west should stop supporting terrorism and subversive actions against Iran.

Q - What to do you think should be done now ?

A - Iran does not trust the west, and vice versa. By agreeing a temporary freeze of its programme for enrichment of uranium in November 2004, Iran showed its willingness to work with the west.But it was disappointed by the west's response, or lack of it. There is no solution for Iran's nuclear problem other than a diplomatic solution. I, as an Iranian, feel insulted when countries talk about attacking Iran militarily. A military attack would not weaken the Iranian government, and it could not stop the nuclear program. It would only start a new regional crisis without a foreseeable end.

When a country is included in the world community it will be much more careful about what it does. The proposals and counterproposals should be transparent. No one knows what it is that the west is offering Iran and what is the Iranian response. A transparent policy would encourage Iranian leaders to be more responsive to international public opinion and to act more responsibly. If the west adopts this policy, it can sort out its differences with Iran - not only over its nuclear program but over other issues as well.

Maziar Bahari is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist in Iran.

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Comments (85)

Ray:

Great interview, and recitation of facts by the Iranian nuclear scientist.. Iran's development of nuclear energy (and developing the capability of quickly building a bomb to prevent a blatant aggression by USA/Israel)is very similar to what India did with its nuclear program. It was clear by mid 70's that Pakistan was being helped by China (later N. Korea who gave the bomb design to A. Q. Khan, the father of the Paki-nuke) and S. Arabia oil-money to build a nuke.. So with a decision by Indira Gandhi, Indian scientists quickly built a small-bomb and carried out an underground explosion. Later when faced with total lack of US Govt's support to stop Pakistan's continuing nuke program, Govt of India came out as a declared nuclear power in mid-90's followed by Pakistan's own tests. As a result of both sides possessing nukes, there has not been any large war between India and Pakistan since 1971. Pakistan continues to support Taliban/al Queda sponsored suicide bombings in India (the last one being in N. Delhi about ten days ago). India continues to improve domestic security and intelligence to prevent future attacks, but can not attack known terrorist training sites in Pakistan which can escalate to a nuclear war.. As it turns out, India is fortunate that USA is now directly threatened by Pakistan's ISI support of Taliban who are attacking US military and Afgan govt targets in Afganistan. The next few years will see much more focussed efforts by USA, Karzai govt and India to stop the spread of Taliban/al Queda terrorists in Pakistan-Afgan tribal areas..
Regarding attacking Iran in 2009 by USA-Israel, there is less than 10% chance of that happening. The neocons and Wall St money-changers have been able to do what no enemy of Iran could have accomplished in seven short years under the Bush-Cheny regime!!
1) went on an iditoic war in Iraq which after $700 billions of borrowed money spent and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed, has resulted in a Shia-govt in Iraq very friendly to Iran. This govt has now flatly refused to allow US occupation of Iraq after 2010, and use of Iraq's airbases for any planned bombing of Iran
2) managed to egg Israel to invade Lebanon in 2006, which has showed (just like in Iraq) that Israel can bomb and kill thousands of civilians from 20,000 ft, but can not win a sustained ground war against muslim fighters equipped with nothing more than home-made bombs, Kalashnikov m. guns, and crude rockets.. This is a lesson Israel will not forget as they plot and plan of ways to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities on its own.
3)Poisoned the relationship with Russia based on a hubris that we can surround Russia with Nato military bases w/o any consequences.. Russia showed in just ten days what it can do to such US puppets as Georgia in July which send a clear signal to W. Europe: don't follow US neocon dangerous games to risk all-out war with Russia in Europe.. Unlike USA, Germany, England, Russia and France know very well the price of large wars fought on their own soils from WW 1 & 2. Russia will continue to help Iran with its civilian nuke technology, anbd along with China, prevent any more UN resolutions authorizing either meaningful sanctions or any attacks on Iran by USA.
4) The best of all has been the ponze scheme used by Wall St bankers where they created the massive fraud now called the sub-prime crisis: they gave out junk loans to people whose income did not justify mortgages of $300,000-$600,000. Then they repackaged these toxic loans as AA bonds and sold them to pension funds, mutual funds and to other banks in Europe and Asia..Then to cover their risks, they bought mortgage-default insurance policy from the likes of AIG whose ability to pay in the case of defaults, dependent on these same mortgages not being foreclosed at 20-50% lower price than the value of the loan!! The Wall St crooks all got paid tens of millions of dollars each year (from 2001 to 2007)with no oversight and lax regulations by Mr. Greenspan and clueless Bush Presidency .. As the whole house of cards came tumbling down; the same Wall St crooks forced the White House and Congress to bail them out at an estimated cost of $1 trillion (1000 billion dollars!!) in just ten days!! The national debt increased under the Bush-Cheney regime from $5 trillion to $11 triliion which is now close to 80% of USA GDP!!

So relax, USA is not in any shape to attack Iran with such a financial calamity staring at its face.. China, S. Korea, S. Arabia and Japan are not going to bankroll another stupid adventure which only increases the price of oil, and fans more muslim anger against the West..

Salmun Al Farsi:

@BORDERMAN
“That historical narration true or not, it pertains to all Muslims, as Ali was one of the four Kalifs. But, that was then and we are here today, many things changed.”
AL FARSI: Things have changed since that original reference to the Qurayzah massacre. Unfortunately, the ones who follow this as an example from the Haddith of the Prophet (pbuh) have not changed. The ones who become ‘Djinn (demonically) possessed’ have the same genocidal imperatives humans have had since Xerxes. The current term for the persons described in the script is ‘sociopath’ and they are just as dangerous now as then, no matter what society they are in.

“ A majority of Iranians are hardly devout Muslims and they have no choice as the Mullahs have been imposed on them, in which US and British share a great responsibility for the current situation by overthrowing legitimate governments there”

AL FARSI: There is much to be said about that, but it might be pointed out that the Americans like Dean Atchison were extremely reluctant to aid British colonial interests in Iran as they were French interests in Vietnam because they didn’t believe in nationalistic imperialism, only in democracy as a better form of government. It is also unfortunate that the Soviet Communists were already active in Tehran with the Tudah. Faced with a choice between a dictatorship of the secular right and a Tudah Soviet puppet, the Americans made a tragic mistake in not aiding the rapidly rising democratic organizations of Tehran which the Iranian people were clearly in favor of. These organizations could have brought about a Iranian secular democracy with a highly moral, non-governing religious community foundation that would have made any of the Prophets (PBUH) happy.

“After all, a limited war would not prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear program and there is no basis to justify an all-out war, which might kill over 100000 or one million people, over "suspicion" that Iran one day may build nuclear warheads and having one does not necessarily mean an attack. How do you justify the war? Did Soviet Union and the US or even Soviet Union and China had a nuclear war, although their capabilities were even. So how would an Iran, even if it develops a nuclear warhead, will ever be able to attack Israel or Europe, when the capabilities are greatly mismatched? All one can argue and the best thing for all would be to de-escalate the bellicose rhetoric. Tensions will be greatly reduced through respect, cooperation and diplomacy.”

AL FARSI: There actually would be no basis for an all out war against the Iranian people as was carried out against the Germans and Japanese. The problem then and now is that the totalitarianists had embedded themselves in the social structure of those nations to the point that they could not be defeated without attacking the entire population in an all-out war. The same is true of the Tehran Mullahs and their Quds international force (whose living standard is seventeen times that of Iranians), except that the nuclear equation would be used to destroy them if they attacked anybody. A singular retaliatory strike against Tehran in order to remove the totalitarian apparatus would destroy several million people, if not greatly disturb the geo-fault that runs underneath the city.
You say that nuclear wars have not yet occurred between any of the current weapons makers, but the reason is that all of these nations are automatically targeted by the others in the system called Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD. The possession of nuclear weapons is NOT A DETERANT; they guarantee destruction in some form, as the Pakistanis and Indians are close to finding out. As for Israel, using a nuclear device there would greatly and permanently defile the Noble Sanctuary and if Iran did that, a massacre like Qurayzah would be their least worry as far as the Sunni Muslims are concerned.
The ‘bellicose rhetoric’ you speak of does not have a point, true. But the tensions can only be reduced, not eliminated, if there is a peaceful counterforce (yes, equal and opposite force) to the making of mass destruction. Such a system would require the scientific, psychological evaluation of any person attaining political power before he can exercise it and you won’t see that for another century at least, since the means for doing it have only recently come into existence. Peace be onto thee, when you can.

baron:

We just contain them. Keep a lid on that container, so nothing gets out and causes more trouble.

Borderman:

@ Salmun Al Farsi

That historical narration true or not, it pertains to all Muslims, as Ali was one of the four Kalifs. But, that was then and we are here today, many things changed. A majority of Iranians are hardly devout Muslims and they have no choice as the Mullahs have been imposed on them, in which US and British share a great responsibility for the current situation by overthrowing legitimate governments there. After all, a limited war would not prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear program and there is no basis to justify an all-out war, which might kill over 100000 or one million people, over "suspicion" that Iran one day may build nuclear warheads and having one does not necessarily mean an attack. How do you justify the war? Did Soviet Union and the US or even Soviet Union and China had a nuclear war, although their capabilities were even. So how would an Iran, even if it develops a nuclear warhead, will ever be able to attack Israel or Europe, when the capabilities are greatly mismatched? All one can argue and the best thing for all would be to de-escalate the bellicose rhetoric. Tensions will be greatly reduced through respect, cooperation and diplomacy.

Borderman:

@ Salmun Al Farsi

That historical narration true or not, it pertains to all Muslims, as Ali was one of the four Kalifs. But, that was then and we are here today, many things changed. A majority of Iranians are hardly devout Muslims and they have no choice as the Mullahs have been imposed on them, in which US and British share a great responsibility for the current situation by overthrowing legitimate governments there. After all, a limited war would not prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear program and there is no basis to justify an all-out war, which might kill over 100000 or one million people, over "suspicion" that Iran one day may build nuclear warheads and having one does not necessarily mean an attack. How do you justify the war? Did Soviet Union and the US or even Soviet Union and China had a nuclear war, although their capabilities were even. So how would an Iran, even if it develops a nuclear warhead, will ever be able to attack Israel or Europe, when the capabilities are greatly mismatched? All one can argue and the best thing for all would be to de-escalate the bellicose rhetoric. Tensions will be greatly reduced through respect, cooperation and diplomacy.

Serr Grandi:

It is a pleasure to see a Shah time era Iranian on the first page of the Postglobal. For a while you got rid of the image the media is trying to enforce upon the population of Iran being a country of 72 million mad men and women who want to fight the rest of the world with their potential nukes. It is almost amazing to see how short the collective memory of the media folks is, who just for 3 decades ago were queueing alongside Iranian embassies in order to get a glimpse of the King and Queen of Persia during their regular visits to the friendly countries. These days the younger reporters seem to neither studied nor read anything in the history books about the subjects they report on. So a very big thank you to Postglobal for its accurate understanding of the world dynamics based on current and past events.

But the bigger pleasure of having a governmental representative from the 70's Iran and on such a topic as the ongoing nuclear crisis, is that it makes you to remember the book written by Paul Erdman called "The crash of 79". That book which was printed in 1976 was a semi realistic fiction which dealt with the coming nuclear/financial crisis of 79. The analogy of the topic to today's situation is almost unmatching. We have both a nuclear crisis going on but also a big world financial crisis. The central figure is Iran with its nuclear programme like it was in the book and the financial crisis was due to manipulative selling and buying of treasuries on worldwide scale.

I am confident Dr. Etemad must remember this book as it was a bestseller during his time as the head of the Iranian nuclear agency, but most importantly as the prediction of a crash in 1979 was very much correct. The crash was not due to a nuclear crisis in the Middle East nor was it a worldwide financial crisis, but rather the crash of the Shah and his ambitious plans for modernization and industrialization of Iran. It must therefore almost have been an automatic reaction of anger when Mr. Etemad has seen the same situation arising once again for his country 30 years after the last attempt of his country to enter the nuclear club. This time however the main figure in the book is not the Shah but Ahmadinejad, but the rest of parameters seem to have been constant since the last time this happened. Dr. Etemad, being a man who has experienced that time, unlike our young reporters, must almost instantly recognized the situation and said: "This is unbelievable!"

The reason Dr. Etemad might have reacted so is the other parameters in the book which seem to be more or less the same. So let us repeat the parameters:

1. The Nuclear crisis- which is still the same.

2. Iran being the country where the nuclear crisis is going on- which is still the same

3. Financial crisis in the world's stock and exchange markets- which is still the same

4. The Shah of Iran being a central figure- which has now become Ahmadinejad (or Khamenei, the leader)

But there are some other elements in the book which are important to pay attention to:

5. Iran try to buy its first peaceful reactor from Switzerland which is delivered to Iran and with help of Swiss/European engineers is on the way to get operational- which has now become an origninally German reactor which has after 30 years become a Russian projects with Russian engineers trying to get it operational (almost finished according to Russians)

6. The covert intentions of the Iranians to secretly enrich high percentage uranium in a facility close to their peaceful nuclear power plant- which is almost the same allegation the Iranians face today

7. The true and covert intention of the Shah of Iran to develope a nuclear bomb- which is the same allegation Ahmadinejad and the mullahs get today

8. The secret plan of the Shah to create a Persian empire by attacking and occupying oil rich territories to the east and south of Iran- which is almost the same allegations Ahmadinejad and mullahs need to deal with today, namely their invlovement in Iraq and Lebanon, their intention of blocking the oil through the Gulf and creating a Persian Shia cresence

But the last two parameters in the book are strikingly amazing:

9. The first being the daughter of the main Swiss nuclear scientist (who believes he is helping the Shah to develop peaceful nuclear energy) who has by her intuition and other events found out the true intentions of the Shah. She is now trying to convince her father (the old nuclear scientist) that he should stop helping the Shah becuase the Shah is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. However the interesting part about this point is that the Swiss engineer is Jewish and the daughter (also Jewish) believes the Shah wants to develop a bomb in order to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews!
Well this is almost the same analogy to today's Ahmadinejad wanting to wipe Israel off the map! which is as absurd and fictious as in the book.

10. and the last parameter is the most interesting, namely the rich petro arabs hirign the main figure of the book, an American investment bank advisor, to help them reshift their investments from gold and precious metals to stocks, treasuries, currencies etc.- which is more or less the same as today with the difference of being in the reverse direction as the rich petro Arabs have quitely reshifted their investments from the US dollar and treasuries to safer currencies, gold and other investments since the appearance of the financial crisis.

Anyway the book ends with the nuclear bomb exploding due to sabotage made by the hero of the book in its construction, killing the Shah of Iran before he wanted to fire it and also killing his dream of establishing an empire.

The only winners of the story are the Jews and of course the rich petro Arabs who have successfully survived the mad emperor and also multiplied their money due to good investment strategies given by the advisor.

So now we will all understand the statements given by Dr. Etemad as he sees this story being repeated once again. Being a good patriot Dr. Etemad knows he has to seperate the result of the hard work of young Iranian scientists under tough and stressful circumstances, which is of important strategic national interest, from any past, current or future political system or regime in his country.

Today, like back then in the 70's, it seems the petro rich Arabs are financing a lobby who together with few elements of the Jewish community are trying to enflame a war (military/economic sanctions, both are intrepreted as war) against the Iranian people. Back then they were accusing the Shah of Iran for secretely wanting to develop military nuclear capability in order to covertly share it with Anwar Saddat of Egypt who then could use it to put pressure on Israel and also together with Iran take over the share the oil fields of the Middle East. If this allegation was in fact true, then one has to give an A+ to Shah of Iran for being the master of deception. But if that was not true, then one has to give an A+ to those who plotted against him.

Finally what all these groups have misstaken is that the bonds between Persians and many groups throughout the region is far more ancient than their short term memory enables them to remember. In the book the author (or those who might have helped him with certain parts of the story) made a mistake, namely that the Jewish daughter of the scientist was trying to kill the Persian king, but as the ancient story goes Esther the queen asked the Persian king to kill all those who were plotting against her people in his palace.

So maybe this time, certain members in all communities mentioned, will ensure the modern version of the story is told in a correct way. The only thing we (even the most informed ones of us) know today for sure, is that we don't know anything about tomorrow.

Anonymous:

To Anonomous:

I agree with what you say. Unfortunately, its the muslim extremists who go to war and carry out violence agains nations and people who are not Muslim. Their blood is everywhere, Chechnya, Darfur, Pakistan, Thailand, the Phillapines, US, Israel, France, Spain, Denmark....and the list goes on. I'd like to say we can give a big hug and kiss and make it all go away, but none of the words or actions of the Iranian regime has indicated there interest in peace with Israel. And I sure don't feel safer knowing that the bomb in Pakistan today will be nuclear tomorrow passing through our weak ports and borders and into my life.

Anon:

a/o's not being removed just goes to show the poor oversight at the washington post.

Anonymous:

There is no such thing as "Iranian script", it's called Persian script.

Care to show the source or is that another anti-Muslim and Anti-Iranian effort in wholesale villifying?

Do you think all Jewish people abide by everything that is in the Jewish Haddith also (the Talmud)? In it it also has a lot of non-complimentary comments and instructions about how to treat non-Jews.

Yes there are fundamentalists and fanatics in all religions, but they are an extreme minority.

Wars, hating, and trying to justify killing humanbeings will only help create more radicalism, more wars, and more hatred.

Salmun Al Farsi:

The following is a translation of a Persian, now Iranian, script:

“Ali, who is the successor of God on the earth, and known to fight with a double edged sword, ordered the warriors to cut off the heads of the nonbelievers. Zobair assisted him in finishing this job. Ali also ordered the distribution of the captives and their property or booty among the Muslims, in accord with Sa’ad Mu’adh’s decision regarding the fate of the defeated Jews (i.e., the Jews of Qurayzah, who had been massacred near Medina, Arabia). After the battle and executions of the Jews, Ali ordered everyone of the Muslims to return home. Sa’ad Mu’adh who had been very anxious during the battle, was now happy and praised God upon completion of his task. Then later the the Muslims celebrated and enjoyed beautiful women.”

Is it possible that in order to be good Shiites, the Iranians will obey this Haddith passage in their hatred of Jews? Their taking prisoner and then killing Jews through their mercenaries in Hamas and Hezbollah shows their real intention for the new Jewish Qurayzah of Israel.

Saint Michael Traveler, USA:

The whole issue of conflict with Iran is about control of the sources of energy, oil and nuclear fuel. The efforts to monopolize nuclear fuel production started in 1978, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group tried to impose restrictions on the right of developing countries to enrich their own uranium, a right. Since Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ensures access to peaceful uses of nuclear technology for non-nuclear weapon states, the technology for uranium enrichment must be permitted to all states under the current nonproliferation regime. Countries like Iran therefore, are permitted to develop their own enrichment technology for peaceful nuclear energy production.

The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a USA. GNEP-initiative monopolizes nuclear fuel production and waste management infrastructure.
Global Nuclear Power Infrastructure (GNPI) is a Russian initiative.
Russia will retain exclusive control of all sensitive enrichment technology.

Both GNEP and GNPI monopolize production of nuclear fuel. Any nation who would have nuclear reactor but can not control the supplier of nuclear fuel is not an independent nation. The case of Iran and Russia as supplier of the fuel demonstrates my argument. The Iranian problem for receiving from Russia fuel for Bushehr, Iran Nuclear Reactor, was co-opted by the USA forcing Iran to initiate her own fuel production.

Iran has argued for an international nuclear fuel consortium to operate Iranian nuclear enrichment. Iranians assert that this international cooperative arrangement and IAEA oversight together will eliminate USA fear that Iran is attempting to use the technology to develop nuclear weapon.

Unless we are monopolizing nuclear fuel production and restrict energy-independence of nations such as India and Iran, we should allow an international nuclear fuel consortium to operate Iranian nuclear enrichment.

J Rhinehart:

Nuclear power without the West’s help is a great achievement. I can see how they would be proud of that.

I am reminded of the Soviet Union’s massive military buildup, how they had made their people go without basic necessities for generations in order to get to the point where they were militarily threatening on a par with the US, which had a much higher GNP. How much of Iran’s GNP has the gov put into this program, and at what expense to the people?

Also, Dr. Etemad says he does not believe Iran’s current government is planning on building nuclear bombs, yet he himself admits they are now surrounded by countries who now have nuclear weapons. Does he realize it is the statements of the current Iranian government’s intentions - in their own words - that make the rest of their neighbors not believe them when they talk war out of one side of their mouth & peace out of the other?

Don't like to see this site sabotaged:

It appears that most of the "cause" of problems in the Middle East is in fact the state of Israel and it's disrespectful policies toward the other countries in the region.

Here is a piece by Charley Rose which I hope you'll find interesting:

It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world – the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.

Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?

Israel.

Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?
The Arab countries and Iran.

Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?

Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?

Israel.

Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?

Israel.

Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?
Israel. The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who's the dog and who's the tail?

Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?

Israel. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.

Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?
Israel. There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don't own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: "targeted killings." A British journalist told me once, "The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones."

What are the top five countries from which we import oil?

Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.

Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?

Israel.

Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers' gift?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?

Israel.

On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?

Israel.

What country do the people in the region consider the world's biggest hypocrite?
The United States.


Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?

Iraq and Israel. A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.

tarquinis:

How the Zionists do howl and mew, bleat and bawl, for a third wasting war, this time against Iran, whose only outcome would be uncontrollable chaos from Beirut to Karachi and great compounding of the worldwide economic distress now so much in evidence.

If Israel wanted security, they could have made a SC242 peace with the Palestinians. But this has been made infeasible by sixty years of annexation and colonization of Palestinian land, taken at the point of a gun. So that's out.

The only remaining feasible option for them is a unitary, democratic, and non-sectarian state.

Objective readers may refer to the NYT of September 19, 2008 and the article by Nazilia Fathi, under the title of "Iran’s President Denies Hostility to Israelis". With reference to this article, and quoting:

"The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, took the unusual step on Thursday of explaining that while he strongly opposed the state of Israel, his hostility did not extend to the Israeli people. “We have no problem with people and nations,” he said. “Of course, we do not recognize a government or a nation for the Zionist regime.”

"...on Thursday (9/18/08), he defended his vice president for tourism, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who created a storm of protest among legislators and senior clerics over the summer when he said that Iran was a friend of the Israeli people. Analysts viewed Mr. Ahmadinejad’s public support for Mr. Mashai’s remarks as a sign that Iran might be softening its position amid increasing pressure by the West over its nuclear program."

“It looks like the remarks are a policy,” said Saeed Leylaz, a political analyst in Tehran. “Despite the opposition, they were repeated, no apology was made and the president supported it today.”

"In mid-July, Mr. Mashai was quoted as saying that Iran was “a friend of Israeli people.” He then repeated the comment in August, saying there was “no hostility toward the Israeli people.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad backed up the comments at a news conference on Thursday, arguing that what Mr. Mashai said was “the position of the government.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad made clear his opposition to Israel, saying that while “some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of lesser Israel has expired too.”

“We are opposed to the idea that the people who live there should be thrown into the sea or be burnt,” he said. “We believe that all the people who live there, the Jews, Muslims and Christians, should take part in a free referendum and choose their government.”

"Mr. Mashai is a close political ally of Mr. Ahmadinejad and his daughter is married to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s son. Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on state matters, has maintained silence over Mr. Mashai’s remarks despite the anger that they have inspired."

SPRING RAIN:

THIS IS WHAT I WANT, AND ENVISION FOR THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. I SAY THIS, BASED ON ALL MY KNOWLEDGE OF INTELLIGENCE MATTERS GOING BACK SOME 18 YEARS.

I WANT PRESIDENT BUSH TO DO THE RIGHT THING HERE, AND I'D LIKE IT DONE BEFORE HIS TERM IS UP.

I'D LIKE THE MILITARY STRIKE PLAN THAT HAS BEEN IN RESERVE TO BE DRAWN UP FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION AGAINST IRAN. THE WORLD CANNOT, IN ANY WAY, AFFORD TO ALLOW IRAN TO GO ON THE WAY IT IS-IT CANNOT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER BE PERMITTED THE USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS. EVER.

IRAN DOES NOT "TALK" THAT IS THE STUPIDEST, MOST NAIVE AND ASININE COMMENT I HAVE HEARD. WHAT, YOU THINK THE US HASN'T BEEN TALKING TO IRAN? WHAT ABOUT THE IAEA? AND EUROPE? WHAT ABOUT THE LOST ULTIMATUM THESE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS, WHERE IRAN PROMISED TO HAVE AN ANSWER OR FACE ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS? IAEA SAID THEY STONEWALLED, AND EUROPE SAYS THEY REFUSED, POINT BLANK REFUSED TO ANSWER-BRUSHING OFF THE THREAT OF SANCTIONS! THERE IS NO "TALKING" TO THEM, THEY HAVE MADE IT 100% CRYSTAL CLEAR-OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN-THEY WILL NOT STOP URANIUM ENRICHMENT! THEY WILL NOT, NO MATTER WHAT! IT ASTONISHES ME, TRULY, WHEN I READ THESE RESPONSES THAT SAY WE MUST DIALOGUE WITH IRAN! IT'S AS IF THESE NITWITS KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE SITUATION AT PRESENT, HOW MUCH FRUITLESS "DIALOGUING" HAS BEEN GOING ON BETWEEN IRAN AND THE WEST FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS! AMAZING! FOLKS-READ THE FREEAKING HANDWRITING ON THE WALL-OKAY? IT AIN'T GONNA DO NO GOOD TO TALK TO IRANIANS, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BUDGE! AND WHEN YOU HAVE THAT SITUATION, OF NO COMPROMISE WHATSOEVER BY ONE PARTY, THEN YOU HAVE TO THEN, GO TO WAR! IT'S THE SAME THING WHEN YOU GO TO ARBITRATION TO TRY AND SETTLE A CASE BEFORE TRIAL-YOU HAVE TO GET MOVEMENT FROM THE OTHER SIDE TO MOVE OFF THEIR POSITION, BUT WHEN THEY UTTERLY COMPLETELY REFUSE, AT ALL, TO BUDGE, THEN YOU HAVE TO STOP AT SOME POINT-AND THAT POINT IS NOW! GOOD GOD! TALKING TO IRAN? ARE THE FORMER SECS. OF STATE IN A FOG OR SOMETHING? DON'T THEY FOLLOW THE NEWS? GET REAL! IT'S TIME, HIGH TIME, FOR THE MILITARY OPTION, AND THIS IS ONE SITUATION WHERE I SUPPORT ISRAEL 1,000 PERCENT!

SPRING RAIN:

Daniel, London-You are RIGHT ON. IT'S IRAN THAT'S THREATENED TO WIPE BOTH ISRAEL AND THE US OFF THE MAP, AND THIS BRAND NEW DISCLOSURE OF ARMS SALES TO IRAN BY RUSSIA IS OMINOUS. THE IDEA THAT THIS RAT'S NEST OF A COUNTRY, WHO AS YOU POINT OUT, HANGS GAYS FROM THE TOP OF CONSTRUCTION CRANES, AMONG OTHER BARBEROUS ACTS, HAS LONG LONG LONG NEEDED TO BE PUT OUT OF ITS MISERY! IN FACT IT WAS ME WHO ADVOCATED BACK IN 2003 TO SEND ALL THAT FIREPOWER EAST INTO IRAN, AND THEN, THE US WOULD HAVE TRULY BROUGHT SOME PEACE TO THE WORLD!

BUT NOW? I TOO SHARE YOUR SENTIMENT: NUKE THEM TILL THEY GLOW-AND IT IS COMING-AND IT MAY COME, SOONER THAN ANY OF US REALIZE-IT IS AN INEVITABILITY.

P.S. TRUF, THAT WAS HILARIOUS! THIS ARTICLE BELONGS IN "DUH" MAGAZINE-ASK AN IRANIAN, THE FATHER OF THEIR "NUCLEAR PROGRAM" NO LESS, THE PROGRAM WHICH IS ENGAGED FOR ALLEGEDLY "PEACEFUL" PURPOSES (GOD, YOU GOTTA LOVE THOSE FORKED TONGUE LIARS-THE IRANIANS ARE SO THROUGHLY NO GOOD, SO UTTERLY DECEPTIVE AND SAVAGE-THEY SO SO SO NEED TO BE PUT OUT OF THEIR MISERY!) WHETHER OR NOT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO ATTACK IRAN, AND THE IRANIAN SAYS NO! OH MY GOD! QUELLE SURPRISE! HA HA HA HA HA!

Dennis M.:

Israel wants to continue to expand it's settlements on Arab land for another 50 years is why there is no peace there.

Bombing Iran will just allow them to continue to expand.
--------------
5 former secretaries of state urge talks with Iran

Five former secretaries of state, gathering to give their best advice to the next president, agreed Monday that the United States should talk to Iran.
The wide-ranging, 90-minute session in a packed auditorium at The George Washington University, produced exceptional unity among Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Warren Christopher, Henry A. Kissinger and James A. Baker III.
-------

McCain=More Failed Bush Policy

David R.:

Number of Iranian's who flew planes on 9/11 - 0
Number of Iraqi's who flew planes on 9/11 - 0
Number of Saudi's who flew planes on 9/11 - 15

"MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" = GOP COWBOY POLICY

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat

WASHINGTON: A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

donmac:

Attacking Iran won't help? Didn't Tojo say something similar just before we firebombed Tokyo back to the stone age? If Iran builds a bomb and uses it there won't be enough sand left in that dessert to fill a beach bucket!

arjay1:


To Bridgitte Meier:

You appear to be following the European left’s Ameriphobic conspiracy dogma set, which is unfortunate. Those dogmas have fallen into the trap of opposing ANY Euro-American defense of democracy rather than being suspicious of primitive totalitarian cults like the Sudanese, Iraqi, Iranian and Russian socialist elites.
You say America fuels civil wars as a state sponsor of terrorism when many such civil wars were the natural extensions of the French and American revolutions against world wide totalitarianism and involved the Americans only when there was a choice between anarchy and a one party state.

You say that Iran does not represent a threat to anyone, but their Quds international force executes people all over Europe and the Middle East. You say they don’t threaten anyone when the Quds has stated it will close the Hormuz Straights and the Azerbaijan pipeline whenever it likes, with the aid of the Kremlin elite now in Georgia.

You say ”the greater the threat, the greater the need to build nuclear weapons ”. In fact, possession of nuclear weapons (not the potential) is sufficient reason to target a totalitarian clique with nuclear weapons. You say America is the only nation to use atomic bombs but fail to say that their use caused a totalitarian elite to give up and thereby saved the lives of four million Japanese and half a million Americans. But we no longer talk about minor 20 kiloton devices; they are now half a megaton with a destructive radius of six miles, not 500 yards. To suggest such devices would be safer in the hands of Mullahs is to hope and pray for the mass destruction of human beings.

Your comments appear to defend any process that is hostile to western democracies. Why?

Anon Watcher:

I agree with Anon. A's and O's are the only way to deter a nuclear arms race. I love baseball.

galb:

As any inhabitant of Hiroshima could tell you, nations should be judged by what they do and not what they say. Iran sees nuclear weapons in the hands of its deadly enemy, Israel. It hears open talk from the Israelis and Americans of
pre-emptive strikes. I supsect that these attacks, once started, will have to be repeated across the Middle East to preserve Israel's nuclear monopoly. Clearly, Iran is to blame for some of the fear of its regime but, given the present circumstances, surely Iranians are rational to seek an effective deterrent? The fact that Iranians who are bitterly opposed to the mullahs share this view should give us pause. We need to offer the Iranians real concessions to stop this arms race.

Jim:

Iran had a functioning republic back in the 1950's. We didn't like that democracy; it wasn't pro-west. So the US and Britain orchestrated the overthrow to replace it with a dictator, the Shah.

It may comes as a surprise to some here that the Iranian people didn't care a whole lot for the Savat or the US support of the dictator that was torturing and killing Iranians. Ingrates. Didn't they realize that Iranian oil was there for the west?

As far as human rights. Read through the Annual report on human trafficking by the State Department. Plenty of our friends are quite involved including Saudi Arabia and Israel. It's sort of humorous how the women used for sexual exploitation can so easily cross the border into Israel. Saudi Arabia has no problem with public beheading and the US has no problem with Saudi Arabia doing it as long as the oil flows in the right direction. Then there's India. The largest democracy in the world and a major violator of human rights in the world. But there's money to be made there and the US is more than happy to look the other way.

The US isn't against all terrorism. Israel is free to terrorized the Palestinians. Israel was free to terrorize Lebanon. How many cluster bombs did Israel drop in the civilian population of Lebanon; a million. That was nothing other than terrorism. We even have really unusual relationship with the PKK, they can commit acts of terror against Iran, but not Turkey. That's a tough one but we're pulling it off.

Isolation really works well. Look at Cuba and how successful that was. Or North Korea. Speaking of North Korea, notice how much we don't care about the North Korean people. Or how about Sudan/Darfur. We don't much care about them. Zimbabwe?

The shining light of the West empowered Augusto Pinocet.

As far as lying. There were no WMD in Iraq. Do you really believe that a missile defense system in Poland isn't there for the Russians as well?

denis:

Israel wants to attack Iran, or better still, get the US to do so, not because it really fears a nuclear attack from Iran. It wants to punish Iran for supporting Hizbollah and thinks an attack would cripple its ability to back the insurgent group.

Like most crazy Israeli policies, this will backfire. Hizbollah is quite capable of striking at Israel and doing serious damage if Iran is attacked. And, of course, once attacked Iran will definitely develop and deploy nuclear weapons. No conceivable attack can stop this. Only total occupation of the country could do that. Lots of luck with that.

Happily, the Russians will apparently save us and our Israeli "friends" from this madness by installing very advanced missile defense systems to protect Iran's nuclear facilities. These systems would extract too high a price, particularly in skilled Israeli pilots, which they can't afford to lose.

So we're all going to have to be satisfied with diplomacy.

Item one would be a regional conference to totally de-nuclearize the region, which means Israel would have to give up its 150 nuclear weapons. These weapons are the reason the Iranians and Syrians may be developing their own.

For some strange reason, our press never mentions this fact, which is clearly the basis of regional powers' nuclear ambitions.

Daniel, London:

@ Brigitte Meier
"...... that Iran arms Hezbollah with the same right as the U.S. arms Israel. ".
The difference between Hezbollah and the State of Israel is that Hezbollah is a non state actor, who's main goal is to spread a radical, i.e. fascist form of Islam, they will eventually try and control Lebanon because they are on a mission from Allah. Ready to die for this. Israel is a democratic state. I strongly believe Iraq was a huge mistake, but calling it genocide is just utter and complete nonsense. Who do you work for? Hamas?

Since you are so keen on Iran and Hezbollah, may I suggest you hang with them for a few weeks, and then get back to us. See how you like the human rights situation there. Have a nice day.

GH:

KH.
The numerous calls for the extermination of the Jews by Islamic leaders and clerics are well documented. Please don't try to use the "they just don't understand what we were trying to say" argument, OK? It just doesn't work. Do you happen to also remember how the Iranian president sponsored the "summit" on how the Holocaust didn't exist? Well, both of the parents of a very good friend of mine were Holocaust survivors. The only reason why such a summit would be created would be to promote further hatred of Jews. Israel does not constantly (or ever) call for other nations to be wiped off of the map. But Muslim countries constantly call for Israel to be utterly destroyed, referring to it as the "Jewish entity". Sorry....your arguments are simply not valid. If the calls for death and destruction by the followers of Islam will just stop, then peace will finally have a chance. The West is willing.

And will someone at the Post PLEASE get rid of that massive posting of a's and o's by Anon. If he persists in doing garbage like that intended on discouraging people from reading legitimate posts, he should be banned from posting altogether.

Jipps:

I'm extremely surprised, and suspicious of Dr.Etemads comments. I can understand if it came from someone from the Iranian government but this is a man who supposedly knows a lot about Iran and it's current/past politics. His comments and comments of some people on this tread are extremely naïve concerning people who run Iran. Please inform yourselves and get to know the kind of people running Iran in the past 30 years. For example the Iranian government has hanged people who where later found to be (possibly) innocent. When confronted, the response was; if they are innocent, they'll go to heaven, if guilty, then justice has been done. Also under their religious laws, lying is permitted if it's in the cause of the faith ie the supreme leader says we don't need nuclear bomb. Once they've made it he'll turn around and say, it was to protect Islam (ie their own power and wealth) that we did it and completely in line with religious laws there are lots and lots more examples that proves we are dealing with something that can not be ignored or taken lightly.

Asieh:

Bahari has done a good job in providing an objective interview with Dr Etemad. Double standards, deciet, and demonizing are American policies that insult not only Iranian nationals but peace-loving people throughout the world. We need to see a more realistic picture of Iran and inside their political world. I have enjoyed reading blogs like www.ebtekarm.blogspot.com and I think people concerned about our common future should take a look at what these people have to say. Thank you Dr Etemad for giving us a realistic picture of the nuclear crisis with Iran.

Brigitte Meier:

Dr. Etemad's views are immensely deep and insightful of both, Iran and the West. It is deplorable that most responders appear to have fallen prey entirely to the American propaganda machine. None of them seems to have ever asked themselves how any nation could justify a nuclear attack on Iran to stop it from developing nuclear technology. As to state sponsors of terrorism, I think the U.S. has the top rank on that. No other nation has undermined so many governments, democratic and otherwise, no nation has fuelled so many civil wars in so many countries as the U.S. governments.

With respect to the Iranian nuclear program, it is obvious that the western clamor is a smoke screen: Iran can't have nuclear reactors and enrichment because that makes U.S. invasion a crime against humanity, i.e. next to impossible without inhuman numbers of people killed. The real issue is oil and gas in Iran and the Caspian Sea, and in Russia beyod it, which the U.S. wants to have control over.

Israel isn't threatened by Iran, neither is the U.S. nor Europe. These claims are political lies to justify invasion of Iran if and when the U.S. has the capacity to invade. In reality, Israel and the U.S. are a much larger threat to Iran than vice versa.

Whatever Ahmadinejad's shortcomings inside Iran with the economy may be, he won the diplomatic tug of war with the west and the west is therefore up in arms against Iran, the same way that the west can't stop accusing Russia for its defense of South Ossetia. Not because it came to the rescue of South Ossetia, but because it succeeded and pushed Georgia back, and may yet succeed to undo Saaqashvili while the U.S. didn't succeed with such speed in doing so in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The same is true for Chechnia. Russia was determined, it was a bloody war with many atrocities, but the situation calmed and Chechnia is rebuilding. The same cannot be said of Iraq.

It is unfortunate that the average American has so little understanding of the difference between intention and explanation to the American public by its politicians. Otherwise, they would realize that Iran arms Hezbollah with the same right as the U.S. arms Israel. That Iran uses subversion with the same right that the U.S. trains and arms dissident groups, terrorist groups which it then sends to destabilize Iran.

Even Shimon Peres, the Israeli president starts to realize, that war on Iran should not be an option. Because no diplomatic breakthroughs can be realized with a nation threatened with extermination via nuclear attack.

That is in principle what Dr. Etemad expresses: each country has a right to defend its own interests and sovereignty. The greater the threat, the greater the need to build nuclear weapons. They would be in safer and more responsible hands with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs than with Bush and Cheney and their hawks.

It should not be forgotten, that the U.S., not Iran, is the only government which used atomic bombs and which used D.U. bombs, i.e nuclear weapons, in its most recent attacks on Iraq. The genocide of Iraq dwarfs every other problem, even Darfur. Yet other leaders are held responsible for genocide. Why not the American Bush government? Which confirms that the U.S. launches verbal and legal attacks on other governments for political reasons.

Brigitte Meier:

Dr. Etemad's views are immensely deep and insightful of both, Iran and the West. It is deplorable that most responders appear to have fallen prey entirely to the American propaganda machine. None of them seems to have ever asked themselves how any nation could justify a nuclear attack on Iran to stop it from developing nuclear technology. As to state sponsors of terrorism, I think the U.S. has the top rank on that. No other nation has undermined so many governments, democratic and otherwise, no nation has fuelled so many civil wars in so many countries as the U.S. governments.

With respect to the Iranian nuclear program, it is obvious that the western clamor is a smoke screen: Iran can't have nuclear reactors and enrichment because that makes U.S. invasion a crime against humanity, i.e. next to impossible without inhuman numbers of people killed. The real issue is oil and gas in Iran and the Caspian Sea, and in Russia beyod it, which the U.S. wants to have control over.

Israel isn't threatened by Iran, neither is the U.S. nor Europe. These claims are political lies to justify invasion of Iran if and when the U.S. has the capacity to invade. In reality, Israel and the U.S. are a much larger threat to Iran than vice versa.

Whatever Ahmadinejad's shortcomings inside Iran with the economy may be, he won the diplomatic tug of war with the west and the west is therefore up in arms against Iran, the same way that the west can't stop accusing Russia for its defense of South Ossetia. Not because it came to the rescue of South Ossetia, but because it succeeded and pushed Georgia back, and may yet succeed to undo Saaqashvili while the U.S. didn't succeed with such speed in doing so in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The same is true for Chechnia. Russia was determined, it was a bloody war with many atrocities, but the situation calmed and Chechnia is rebuilding. The same cannot be said of Iraq.

It is unfortunate that the average American has so little understanding of the difference between intention and explanation to the American public by its politicians. Otherwise, they would realize that Iran arms Hezbollah with the same right as the U.S. arms Israel. That Iran uses subversion with the same right that the U.S. trains and arms dissident groups, terrorist groups which it then sends to destabilize Iran.

Even Shimon Peres, the Israeli president starts to realize, that war on Iran should not be an option. Because no diplomatic breakthroughs can be realized with a nation threatened with extermination via nuclear attack.

That is in principle what Dr. Etemad expresses: each country has a right to defend its own interests and sovereignty. The greater the threat, the greater the need to build nuclear weapons. They would be in safer and more responsible hands with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs than with Bush and Cheney and their hawks.

It should not be forgotten, that the U.S., not Iran, is the only government which used atomic bombs and which used D.U. bombs, i.e nuclear weapons, in its most recent attacks on Iraq. The genocide of Iraq dwarfs every other problem, even Darfur. Yet other leaders are held responsible for genocide. Why not the American Bush government? Which confirms that the U.S. launches verbal and legal attacks on other governments for political reasons.

Daniel, London:

WHY did the interviewer not question Dr. Etemad about his statements regarding Iranian statements about Israel? This is a VERY strange interview, one in which the Dr. seems to have free reign on some questionable convictions. How can "the west" trust a country that sends death squads all over the world. Finances terror groups and cells all over. Talking to my Iranian friends who gladly left Iran since the "revolution" it seems like a hell hole for most people. Corruption is rife, unemployment, drug addiction, poverty, violence, gays are hung from building cranes for being gay....I could go on.
I am aghast at any violence, wether it is domestic, in the street or in Iraq. But considering that we are dealing with Islamo-fascists, I say nuke 'em till they glow.

Brigitte Meier:

Dr. Etemad's views are immensely deep and insightful of both, Iran and the West. It is deplorable that most responders appear to have fallen prey entirely to the American propaganda machine. None of them seems to have ever asked themselves how any nation could justify a nuclear attack on Iran to stop it from developing nuclear technology. As to state sponsors of terrorism, I think the U.S. has the top rank on that. No other nation has undermined so many governments, democratic and otherwise, no nation has fuelled so many civil wars in so many countries as the U.S. governments.

With respect to the Iranian nuclear program, it is obvious that the western clamor is a smoke screen: Iran can't have nuclear reactors and enrichment because that makes U.S. invasion a crime against humanity, i.e. next to impossible without inhuman numbers of people killed. The real issue is oil and gas in Iran and the Caspian Sea, and in Russia beyod it, which the U.S. wants to have control over.

Israel isn't threatened by Iran, neither is the U.S. nor Europe. These claims are political lies to justify invasion of Iran if and when the U.S. has the capacity to invade. In reality, Israel and the U.S. are a much larger threat to Iran than vice versa.

Whatever Ahmadinejad's shortcomings inside Iran with the economy may be, he won the diplomatic tug of war with the west and the west is therefore up in arms against Iran, the same way that the west can't stop accusing Russia for its defense of South Ossetia. Not because it came to the rescue of South Ossetia, but because it succeeded and pushed Georgia back, and may yet succeed to undo Saaqashvili while the U.S. didn't succeed with such speed in doing so in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The same is true for Chechnia. Russia was determined, it was a bloody war with many atrocities, but the situation calmed and Chechnia is rebuilding. The same cannot be said of Iraq.

It is unfortunate that the average American has so little understanding of the difference between intention and explanation to the American public by its politicians. Otherwise, they would realize that Iran arms Hezbollah with the same right as the U.S. arms Israel. That Iran uses subversion with the same right that the U.S. trains and arms dissident groups, terrorist groups which it then sends to destabilize Iran.

Even Shimon Peres, the Israeli president starts to realize, that war on Iran should not be an option. Because no diplomatic breakthroughs can be realized with a nation threatened with extermination via nuclear attack.

That is in principle what Dr. Etemad expresses: each country has a right to defend its own interests and sovereignty. The greater the threat, the greater the need to build nuclear weapons. They would be in safer and more responsible hands with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs than with Bush and Cheney and their hawks.

It should not be forgotten, that the U.S., not Iran, is the only government which used atomic bombs and which used D.U. bombs, i.e nuclear weapons, in its most recent attacks on Iraq. The genocide of Iraq dwarfs every other problem, even Darfur. Yet other leaders are held responsible for genocide. Why not the American Bush government? Which confirms that the U.S. launches verbal and legal attacks on other governments for political reasons.

Bahishti:

''Isolating or Attacking Iran Won't Work''

No it will!!!!!!! There is no other way than stop Iran. I think Israelis will do a big favor to the region if they attack Iran. Becuase Iranian regime is destabilising the whole region and needs to get the taste of its own medicine.

If USA tries to stop Israel, then Israelis should re-evaluate their relationship with US. It was US that by removing Saddam and Taliban freed IRAN from two sworn enemies and today Iran has become stronger. Consequently it is threatening Israel.

Daniel, London:

This is hilarious, quote:

"When Israel threatens to attack Iran, it dares to do so because it has nuclear weapons and Iran does not. The Iranian government may now see them [nuclear weapons] as the only way they can defend themselves."

As I remember this case, it was Iran which threatened to wipe Israel of the map. Not the other way around. Who is this guy? a clown? Iran is posing a real threat to ISRAEL, through Hezbollah and its aggressive stance and talk. It is arming Hezbollah with medium range missiles and anti ship missiles.

Iran is a state run by fascists, and I mean that not in the polemic sense of the word. These dudes believe that they are on a mission from God (like the Blues Brothers). They must never have the bomb.

Anonymous:

The article (despite so many negative comments above) sheds light on an element of the Iranian nuclear program/issue which is not frequently looked at. Nice work. MEVA

HL:

Would the administrator clean up the comment section of spams?

CXV:

Always the people that won't volunteer to go to war are the ones praying for one.

Salmun Al Farsi:


Dr. Akbar Etemad made a concluding statement: “Iran does not trust the west, and vice versa. By agreeing a temporary freeze of its programme for enrichment of uranium in November 2004, Iran showed its willingness to work with the west.But it was disappointed by the west's response, or lack of it. There is no solution for Iran's nuclear problem other than a diplomatic solution. I, as an Iranian, feel insulted when countries talk about attacking Iran militarily. A military attack would not weaken the Iranian government, and it could not stop the nuclear program. It would only start a new regional crisis without a foreseeable end.”

Unfortunately, there is very little basis for trust. The freeze he speaks of was simply to collect materials for the program, as shipments from Russia and China indicate. The Iranian leadership has shown repeatedly over 30 years that it considers false statements to European and American diplomats to be honorable. As for a diplomatic solution, there has been only one solution acceptable to the Tehran minority government; unrestrained continuance of the program, which is admirable if the program is for power generation. The nation’s oil reserves will not last through the century.

What is really alarming is that Dr. Etemad appears to be unaware of what possession of nuclear weapons means to other nations. Iran would not be attacked by conventional military forces as Saddam Hussein’s genocide apparatus was. The nation would be deemed ‘un-occupiable’ by the militaries of Russia, China, the European Union, and the United States if they have not already done so. The good Doctor says an attack would not weaken the Iran government but he is quite mistaken. A nuclear armed Tehran (even with the four devices they have already bought from Tasikstan) could only be attacked with nuclear weapons and a cluster of 400 kiloton devices from a single bomber or missile would create a fire storm from Parchin to Tajrish. Such an attack wouldn’t weaken the Tehran regime because it would cease to exist. These are not 20 kiloton Hiroshima bombs delivered one at a time; they are half megatonners dropped on all sides of a city. The elite of Tehran do not seem able to visualize this, or is it that they don’t care?

The real losers in such a counter attack or pre-emptive attack would be the eight million Iranian people who have built a beautiful city that shows all the indicators of an advancing democratically aware community that any Prophet would be proud of. Would the Prophets be proud of an elite that stifles such a community with a nuclear program that consumes a third of its national wealth but at best would produce one twentieth of its energy needs?

Perhaps Mister Maziar Bahari would consider the idea of creating a speculative documentary using modern graphic technology to show what would happen to Tehran after a nuclear attack. It has already been done for Washington and Moscow.

Anonymous:

Iran should be very, very careful. Even among those of us in the U.S. who are wary of invading another country, there is zero love for Iran. I very much have opposed the Iraq war from long befdore the invasion, but one reason is that I saw Iraq as a useful buffer against Iran -- let them go on killing one another. If Iran were to treat the U.S. election or our military weakness caused by having so much being wasted in Iraq as an opportunity, it would be the biggest blunder they could ever imagine. I don't think many here in the U.S. would shed tears if we carpet bombed Teheran and hit every potential nuke site with bunker busters and took out every airbase and/or missile site in Iran with cruise missiles. No invasion. No occupation. No loss of U.S. life. Just devestation of Iran and its ability to make war. If need be, take out every one of their oil wells. Then leave them to starve on their own. IMO, we should have done all that in 1980. And, guess what -- I am a far left wing anti-Iraq-war Democrat. Don't look for help here, Iran; there ain't much of that going around. The only insanity would be another occupation. (There's another name for occupying troops -- targets.) Indiscriminate destruction of Iran from the air, on the other hand, sounds like a decent plan to me and it wouldn't take much provocation to justify it. If forced to invade a Middle Eastern nation that didn't attack us on 9/11, I certainly would have picked Iran, not Iraq.

Mark S:

This is about way more than Iran and the United States. These people, these leaders and factions have personal agendas that will remain elusive for thousands of years. Any attempt to reason them out will not bear fruit. Just remember that is was perfect sane and reasonable people with high education that got us into WWI/WWII/Cuban Missile Crisis etc.

The world is reshuffling the chessboard, and there are going to be moves that make no sense or perhaps even make sense in a completely different way, that is, unless you can see just like Deep Blue and Gary Kasparov.

john lynn:

Nuc Iran and Israel at the same time. Then, everything will be allright

K Ackermann:

The guy is totally correct; attacking them will do nothing.

The US has shown the world the limits of its military power. It's not like we could invade Iran; they have 80 million people and a night-capable army. They manufacture their own missiles, so we would not own the air above Iran. That limits our supply lines. We can't nuke them even if we wanted to because Russia would never tolerate a US willing to use nukes as an offensive weapon. About the only thing we could do is drop bombs on them, and then they would cut off our oil from the Mid East and send missiles into US bases in Iraq.

Luckily, Iran isn't really the suicidal evil theocracy that we portray them to be. That's just red meat for the idiots.

Iran has successfully cloned animals. Iran designed and built some of the more sophisticated instruments for the new particle collider at CERN. Iran publishes more scientific papers per-capita than any other nation.

If the US wants to find out about Iran's nuclear program, all it has to do is ask Cheney. Haliburton does a bang-up business with Iran, and so does some of the companies that Rumsfeld is associated with.

As far as suicidal - they have existed almost 30 times longer than the US has, and I'd say we are on our way to being a third-world country.

jo:

we always worried about muslim countries nuclear power, what about Isreal?

Bob22003:

Well, attacking Iran probably would result in an even bigger mess than the one we made in Iraq. Iran is a lot larger that Iraq and has a military that would fight at lot harder than did the Iraqi army. On the other hand, Dr. Etemad, when you're swinging from lamp post with your neck in a noose, it isn't going to matter much to you that the attack isn't going perfectly. Just ask Saddam.

spiderman2:

The U.S should also worry why Europe is building their own independent satelite navigation system called Galileo. There are too many idiots out there and not only Iran. This world is doomed.

The Truf:

This could be the dumbest article in today's Post and that's saying a lot. Seriuosly. They ask Iran if attacking Iran would be a good idea.

And he says no.

Then they ask him about why they're developing nuclear weapons, and they say the Shah (a beloved figure) would have wanted it that way.

I'm guessing the author doesn't rip the tags from mattresses, either.

spiderman2:

Just think about giving JJ, the spammer, a nuke warhead. Some people don't use their brain rightly. Iran is as dangerous as JJ. They can be too destructive.

SPRING RAIN:

I SAY, SHUT THE HELL UP, FATHER OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM-WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO HAPPEN, WILL HAPPEN, AND IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF YOU. IRAN WILL HAVE TO BE "DECONSTRUCTED" WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR, IN ORDER TO RELIEVE THEM OF THE TITLE AS WORLD'S NUMBER ONE STATE SUPPORTER, AIDER, ABETTOR AND FACILITATOR OF TERRIORISM BY PROXY IN THE WORLD.

AND THE SOONER IT TAKES PLACE, THE BETTER-USING A DOSE OF THE GOOD DR.'S MEDICINE AGAINST HIS COUNTRY-NUCLEAR. THAT WILL PERMANENTLY "STERILIZE" THE IRG-AND IT OUGHT TO HAPPEN SOONER, RATHER THAN LATER!

Eggy:

OK, we shouldn't bomb Iran so it won't acquire nuclear weapons. Let's bomb Iran for the fun of it. We owe those bastards. Remember how they assaulted our embassy and took our diplomats hostage? Let's bomb them forward in to the Stone Age.

No Joe:

The idea of a nuclear Iran isn't the issue. Its the idea of the Iranian mullahs with nuclear arms. These are nasty and dangerous people. There is little doubt of their weapons intent.

The problem is that destroying Iran's nuclear facilities by military means, if that was even possible, does not solve the real problem. The real problem is Iran's leadership.

As for what is really going on, I think it has less to do with Iran and more to do with Russia. I can imagine the conversation went something like this:

Mullah: We want nuclear weapons
Putin: And where will you aim those weapons?
Mullah: At western democracies
Putin: How can I help?

Mansour Koosha:

Mr. Bahari is about the most important journalist working in Iran at the moment. His knowledge of the country and his ability to transfer the knowledge to the west separates him from all other journalists who write about Iran.

Mansour Koosha
New York

KM:

GH:

As an Iranian nationalist, I am hardly an apologist for this disgusting theocracy that the mullahs masquerade around as a government. However, I also cringe at folks who twist facts to fit their current worldview.

I have never heard of anyone wanting to "exterminate" the Jews since Hitler. If you have good evidence, then please provide some citations.

Also, don't even bother trying to bring up Ahmadinejad's 'wipe Israel off the map' quote. It was already debunked a million times as poor translation by some individuals with an axe to grind.

Ben T.- Texas USA:

It appears that most of the "cause" of problems in the Middle East is in fact the state of Israel and it's disrespectful policies toward the other countries in the region.

Here is a piece by Charley Rose which I hope you'll find interesting:

It's time for another pop quiz on America's favorite region of the world – the Middle East. Let's get started with the subject of nuclear weapons.

Which country in the Middle East actually possesses nuclear weapons?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East refuses to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities?

Israel.

Which countries in the Middle East have called for the region to be a nuclear-free zone?

The Arab countries and Iran.

Which country in the Middle East occupies land belonging to other people?

Israel, which occupies a piece of Lebanon, a larger piece of Syria, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Which country in the Middle East has for 60 years refused to allow refugees to return to their homes and refused to consider compensation to them for their lost property?

Israel.

Which country has roads on which citizens who are Arab may not drive and housing developments where Arabs may not live?

Israel.

Which country in the region has violated more United Nations resolutions than any other?

Israel. The United States has on more than one occasion gone to war ostensibly to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions, but when it comes to resolutions directed against Israel, the U.S. is like the amoral monkey that sees, hears and says nothing. That raises the question of who's the dog and who's the tail?

Which country in the region has in the past been led by men who at one time were terrorists with a price on their heads?

Israel. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir once led the Stern Gang and ordered, among other things, the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat working for the United Nations. Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist gang that among other things blew up one wing of the King David Hotel, killing nearly 100 people.

Which country in the Middle East openly employs assassination against its political enemies?

Israel. There have been assassinations carried out by some of the Arab governments, but they usually don't own up to them. Israel has created a euphemism that the suck-up American press has readily adopted: "targeted killings." A British journalist told me once, "The Palestinians have a talent for picking bad leaders, and the Israelis have a talent for murdering their good ones."

What are the top five countries from which we import oil?

Here they are in order of volume: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The next time you hear some blowhard politician ranting about how the Arabs control our oil imports, remind him or her of the facts. By far, a majority of oil imports come from non-Arab countries.

Which country in the region receives an annual gift of $3 billion or more from Congress?

Israel.

Which foreign-aid recipient is the only one allowed to receive its aid in a lump sum and which routinely invests part of it in U.S. Treasuries so that taxpayers pay them interest on the taxpayers' gift?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East has the most powerful lobby in the U.S.?

Israel.

Which country in the Middle East are most American politicians, journalists and academics afraid to criticize?

Israel.

On behalf of which country has the U.S. vetoed the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions?

Israel.

What country do the people in the region consider the world's biggest hypocrite?

The United States.

Which countries in the Middle East have attacked U.S. ships in international waters?

Iraq and Israel. A lone Iraqi plane fired one missile at a U.S. ship by mistake. The Iraqi government quickly compensated the U.S. In 1967, Israeli airplanes and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. The U.S. government declared it an accident even before the ship limped into port, and to this day Congress has never held a public hearing and allowed the survivors to tell their story. Their story, by the way, is that the attack was deliberate. Israel compensated the families of those who were killed, but resisted for years paying compensation for the ship.

Paganus:

Rory,

Why is it that we have to explain rudimentary concepts like "balance of regional power" or "nuclear deterrence" to conservatives these days? Not too long ago, it was the liberals who couldn't understand it.

We in the West shouldn't buy the "crazy mullahs" propaganda being shoved down our throats by AIPAC and the Neo-Cons. The mullahs, like any other oligarchy, are interested primarily in the perpetuation of their regime. When (not if) they get the bomb, they will use it like Pakistan, as a nuclear deterrent against regional threats to their regime, i.e. the US, the Saudis, UAE, and Israel.

And BTB, historically speaking, it is really obtuse to expect the Persians not to be a major regional player, militarily and otherwise. They always have been and always will be.


homesower:

to David:

Don't be a fool. Its very difficult to get oil by invading a country. The infrastructure is too easily damaged by partisan fighters. There simply isn't the need. Why bother when they are perfectly willing to sell it to us?

What happened the last time a group of nations decided not to sell oil? They caused a short panic, which was quickly followed by a massive exploration and development effort that eventually brought the price crashing down.

There might be reasons to invade Iran, but oil isn't one of them.

Dave:

Well said, John Cole. Anyone who trusts the most successful racist enterprise of all time must be an idiot. And the usual "we can do no wrong" victimization tactics like DK engages in only serve to make Israel look even more disingenuous. (read: liars) That Israel grants the minimal rights to gentiles that it does is fully a function of pressure from the world at large. If it were any worse, Israel would have been annihilated long ago. The Zionists make just enough concessions to survive, and no more.
If Iran does not fear the "country" that makes the Nazis look like amateurs, they make George W. Bush look like a nuclear physicist.

Ziggy:

THe bottom line is that Iran is a signatory to the NPT and thus has the INALIENABLE RIGHT to enrich uranium and conduct a nuclear energy progam. That should be the end of the matter, but the USA continues to make unsubstantiated allegations about an alleged nuclear weapons program without offering any substantive evidence. This constantly spurs the IAEA into demanding information from Iran that goes beyond its charter or its right to know. Of course Iran is ignoring these unwarranted demands.

Right now, the IAEA is alleging that Iran has stockpiled enough uranium to manufacture one-third of a nuclear warhead. Well guess what? Brazil, also developing nuclear energy, has also stockpiled fissile material, but has been a lot less open about its activities, disallowing the IAEA access to much of its nuclear facilities. But the USA is not threatening to attack Brazil, even though Brazil is a lot closer to the USA than Iran and the way that Latin America is turning against the Americans, it might only be a matter of a year or two before Brazil becomes an antagonist of the USA and develops nuclear weapons too.

The crazy thing about the Iran allegations is that a nation that conducting a nuclear energy program would obviously be stockpiling the material with which to make fuel, so the finger-pointing at Iran for this is ludicrous. The reason for this nonsense is that the USA wants to deprive Iran of the ability to manufacture its own nuclear fuel and be dependent on the West for this, thus be controlled economically.

Well, Iran is not going to be bullied by the USA, not going to abandon its legal rights, not going to be intimidated by the IAEA into revealing its military secrets that are not within the IAEA's charter to demand and is not going to take any notice of the illegal UN Security Council sanctions.

It's a disgrace when a body such as the UNSC can impose sanctions on a nation that is doing nothing more than exercising its legal right under an international treaty. No wonder Iran is angry and I wouldn't blame Iran if it just tore up the NPT, kicked out the IAEA and started making nuclear weapons. Why should Iran comply by this treaty when the USA has ignored it from the day it signed, yet demands that Iran forgo its legal rights? Where is the technological cooperation that the nuclear powers were supposed to give Iran under the NPT? Nonexistent. Where is the support from the nuclear powers for Iran's legal rights? Nonexistent.

Enough is enough. Iran is quite rightly giving the USA and its gang of bullies the finger and nobody who knows what the USA and Britain did to Iran over the past 50 years would blame Iran for this attitude.

DK:

Wow, this thread is very scary. Alan Cole is especially scary as he pontificates on and proliferates the outmoded Nazi anti-semitic rantings that Jews are trying to takeover the world through nefarious underhanded means.

Obviously I could never convince him - but the rest of the readers of this thread must understand that th esituation in what we call the middle east is very complicated. However there are certain truths that are not controvertible: Israel is a nation-state created under the auspices fo the UN in 1948. Since the day of its creation, it has been under actual or virtual military attack. Regardless of whether the Israeli government has done bad things, the overarching situation is that the neighbors of Israel (aside from Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994) does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

If Canada, Mexico, Cuba and all of the Caribbean countries did not recognize the US, and on 4 separate occasions massed troops on our borders or actually invaded, and on thousands of other days fired rockets into our country, how would the US react? How would the US prepare for future such attachs that would surely come?

Further, Israel is in no way an apartheid state. Israeli Arads, Druse, Christians, Muslims, B'Hai, Ethiopians, Russians, Morroccans all vote, own property, have access to courts, have members of Parliament. Gaza is essentially a sovereign territory with lots of problems (including Israeli intransigence) The West Bank is another issue altogether that needs to be solved - but apratheid in Israel is a lie.

Israel makes mistakes and treats its palestinian neighbors in the WB very poorly - a situation that needs rectification. But these comments are mere pretense for continued aggression agaisnt Israel by Hamas, Hezbollah and the continued technical state of war by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and threats, repeated vociferously by Iran.

Any comments to the contrary are literally, by definition LIES - intended to justify existential threats to Israel.

patrick:

it clearly amazes me that Americans aren't capable of recalling this history, as plain as day, as it is shown in the above interview.

The Iranians recall, how is it that the United States does not?

Alan Cole:

I am sick of the double standards!
Which invariably are never mentioned.

Israel has over 300 weapons of mass destruction building an ever greater stockpile with no whisper from the international community.

Israel is and had been in breach of a legion of UN Resolutions without demur.

Israel seems to be an immune sovereign entity that has intimate links to those that control the US Fed.

It is perfectly legal to build a civilian nuclear power station in a sovereign territory.

What all this palaver clearly has rather a lot to do with is the fact that the US government wants to buld oil piplines through Iran to Pakistan & China as Iran has entered into contracts to do the same.

Israel is clearly a rogue state as long as it has a clearly 'apartheid' state that treats the erstwhile people of Palestine as no more than base animals.

The situation is clearly criminal.

Is it not true that the Zionist element that initiated attempts to break the British mandate to corral the country were common criminal terrorists funded by the international Wall Street bankers [those that have caused the current credit crisis/recession] that were ardent supporters of the Irgun [controlled by Menachim Begin]!

It is ironic: "the pot calling the kettle black".

One devious device used by one powerful group is the continued attempt to paint the perpetrators of this hostility and aggression as purported 'victims'! [Have we not heard this classic device used before by a notorious dictator in 1933 who was funded by the Wall Street Bankers - following the 1929 Wall Street Crash when a few billionaire bankers triumphed and now control the Fed - the very same Wall Street elite of bankers - one of whom is a trillionaire and is linkled to several oil companies and controls the US 'shadow' government and various unaccountable untransparent organizations with little or no integrity that seek to usher in the New World Order for their own benefit and the benefit of senior masonry - the Illuminati (33 degrees of paganism - 33 degrees to the Generative principle - held at Bohemian Grove, California - from whose membership of Bohemian Club of New York, (& Council of Foreign Relations of New York) the next US presidential candidate is chosen)?]

I do not trust Israel... [with that burgeoning arsenal of nuclear weapons of mass destruction].

And what of the Dimona Research in Israel that produces nuclear weapons of mass destruction as if on a conveyor belt?

HAR MEGIDDO - ARMAGEDDON - ISRAEL's objective?

Anonymous:

Gh,

I stand corrected on that position of yours.


Talk is cheap, look at actions. People of the Jewish faith have lived in Iran for a very long time, longer than the creation of the majority of the countries of the world.

Iranians, and Muslims, don't advocate killing Jews, this is amazing, and unfortunately this is the popular and common understanding of most Americans, via the major national media outlets.

As for wars, it is Israel that favors more wars and any other distractions, anything other than start reaching a fair and peaceful agreement with those behind the "fences". This will help ease a lot of tensions in western Asia. This helps a lot.

Everyone lives in a glass house.

Hoping for the better.

John Cole:

I am sick of the double standards!
Which invariably are never mentioned.

Israel has over 300 weapons of mass destruiction building an ever greater stockpile with no whisper from the international community.

Israel is and had been in breach of a legion of UN Resolutions without demur.

Israel seems to be an immune sovereign entity that has intimate links to those that control the US Fed.

It is perfectly legal to build a civilian nuclear power station in a sovereign territory.

What all this palaver clearly has rather a lot to do with is the fact that US wants to build oil piplines through Iran to Pakistan & China as Iran has entered into contracts to do the same.

Iran is clearly a rogue state as long as it has a clearly apartheid state that treats the ersdtwhile people of Palestine as no more than base animals.

The situiation ios clearly criminal.

Is it not true that the Zionist element that initiated attempts to break the British manadate to corral the country were common criminal terrorists funded by the international Wall Street bankers that were ardent supporters of the Irgun [controlled by Menachim Begin]!

It is ironic "the pot calling the kettle black".

One devious device used by one powerful group is the continued attempt to paint the perpetrators of this hostility and aggression as purported 'victims'!


GH:

To Anon.
Not once in my previous posting did I say that I advocated killing or bombing. The ones who have been advocating killing, bombing and making people into martyrs, willingly or unwillingly, have been Islamic leaders like the Mullahs and the president of Iran. What I want is for them to stop advocating and facilitating violence against others who merely do not share the same faith as their own and to end all attempts to force others to submit to Islamic religious rule. Oh....and they need to stop this whole business of trying to exterminate the Jews as well. Jews are not pigs or monkeys. They are human beings who are the descendents of Adam and Eve like the rest of us.

Israel is NOT threatened by Iran:

Iran's nuclear program makes economic sense, and many developing nations including Argentina and Brazil have recently developed the same enrichment technology that IRan seeks. Iran has offered to impose additional restrictions on its nuclear program beyond its legal obligations to prevent even a theoretical chance of making nukes.

This is not about "nukes" -- this is about the US trying to control and monopolize the nuclear fuel cycle, and the developing nations refusing to accept that.


Furthermore, even the Israelis themselves privately admit that they're not particularly "threatened" by Iran despite the hyperbole:

"Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel, Haaretz magazine reveals in an article on Livni to be published Friday. Livni also criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears."

See:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/916758.html

Anonymous:

GH,

There were persons like you in the 1940s Nazi Germany who deliberately tried to skew the truth while trying to make it seem acceptable and necessary to hurt and hate the Jews.

Now, according to your position of the same, but in another time and against a different people, it's the muslims and Iranians who are evil and should be killed and bombed, because they are bad. And of course, you stand for good.

HAS THE POST GONE MAD:

To allow such a bias interview that ignores the ideology of a madman. Israel has never made bellicose comments to the effect that Iran has no right to existence nor made comments that Iran should be wiped off the face of the earth. Iran is threatening Israel with annihilation and of course Israel has the right to self defense.

Since Ahmadinejad constantly makes threats of annihilation against another member state of the United Nations, it violates the charter of the United Nations and should be sanctioned. Ahmadinejad statements are the exact rhetoric of from another past dictator, Adolf Hitler, which the world refused to acknowledge until the world was plunged into a conflagration of evil darkness. Sadly, Ahmadinejad seems to be the reincarnation of that dictator and if the nations of the world ignore these comments as well, the world once again will be plunged into a conflagration of nuclear proportions.

Today speaking to reporters at a press conference ahead of his visit to New York, Ahmadinejad also repeated previous anti-Israel comments, calling the Holocaust by Nazi Germany a "fake."

The Iranian President stated that the Jewish state wouldn't survive in any form.

He smirked at a former mantra of the Israeli right of a "Greater" Israel that would include occupied Palestinian territories, saying that while "some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of a Lesser Israel has expired, too."

The Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, according to sources close to the Russian military.

Iranian redneck:

IF Iran wants to build nuclear weapons, it can and if Iran does so, there is always the option of quitting NPT with a 6 month notice. No need to cheat or hide or conceal, simply because Iran is not getting ANY of the cooperation promised under the NPT for civilian nukes anyway (Article 4 of NPT compells members to help each other civilian nuclear industry).

What Iran has done and wants to show is that it is capable of this sophisticated technology, but does not have the intention to produce weapons. That ought to shoo away those that want to bother Iran or make problems for Iran.

It is also fascinating to see that the policy of USA has not changed since the 1950s Eisenhower era to intercept the nuclear fuel cycle. That is old thinking.

Jonas:

TO RORY

You must be American my dear Sir/Madame are you?
If so then please lighten up a bit. The Mullahs hypocrisy is difficult to accept to be sure, however, considering the mess that has been created in the Mid east in the name of Democracy and justice for all...we will free you even if we have to kill all of you...has given the Mullahs cause and leverage on the nuclear issue among the masses. It is not so unfair to say Americans need to get off their Moral High horse as this Horse of theirs is looking more and more like a Jackass.

chowdhury:

Under the Nuclear NonProlification Treaty, Iran has the right to process its own Uranium. Yet she is punnished by the West. Another double standard senario of the West? It is most Unfair!

kf:

No one has ever developed nukes to attack.
The main has always been to keep aggressors away.

If Iran ever nukes Israel it will also destroy Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. How likely is that?

Iranians of every political persuasion support the development of nukes. Just look at the neighborhood.

Telling Iran they cannot have nukes is an insult to all Iranian, a proud and arrogant people that view the rest of the world as a lesser creed.

Iranians will not be dictated to by monkeys.

GH:

The bottom line is that Iran continues to threaten Israel with destruction by any means necessary. This is not a regime that should be allowed technology that will allow it to build nuclear weapons. This a regime that has been involved in terrorism throughout the world as well. This is all very unfortunate because so many of the Iranian people oppose their current leadership but are unable to do anything about it because of the regime's repressive policies and utter ruthlessness in suppressing any opposition. Many of the Iranian people like the West and the freedom that it represents. This is in spite of the rampant censorship imposed by the Iranian mullahs. Dr. Etermad just can't see the forest for the trees because nationalism and religious identity in the Middle East so often trumps the ideas and concepts that the West espouses that have made prosperity, economic and technological development and peace possible. Most of the violence in the world has direct connections to Islamic fundamentalism, whether Sunni or Shia. Instead of preaching violence, hatred of the Jews and the desire to forcefully convert the world to Islam, a move by the Islamic world towards an open, fair & peaceful co-existance with all faiths would solve so many problems for all concerned. The West is willing if Islam will reciprocate. Nuclear weapons in the hands of raving, genocidal Islamofaschists is most certainly not the answer. If the Mullahs even use one of them, the price that the Iranian people would pay in response would be far too terrible to even consider. They would not be martyrs, only victims of their leaders' greed and foolishness.

heywally:

There certainly is a history that would cause the two sides coming together to be very difficult; both sides are at fault.

No matter what Iran says though, as long as their 'official policy' (though it's sometimes hard to tell who is running their country) is the destruction of Israel, it will be difficult to believe what they say about their nuke usage.

Anonymous:

It's in the past and the time is for reconcialation, I personally hope for friendship and peaceful co-existence.

Raymond,

What do you think England (Britain) and Russia (for about 200 years), and America (for 60 years) were doing in Iran? Spreading human rights and freedom? Not interfering in Iran? Not crushing Iran's rights and stealing her natural resources? Go find a map of Iran which her country (territory) was about the same for many hundreds of years, up to 200 years ago, then look at her map after the British and Russians had a whoever grabs more by force is theirs game (they called it "The Great Game"). Look at how Reza Shah was forced to abdicate his throne in the 1940s, look at the economic sanctions and that coup d'etat of the 1950s, look at the complete silence when Iraq invaded Iran and was bombing Iranian cities and citizens with weapons of mass destruction (chemical weapons) for years. Go visit the victims of those chemical weapons in Iran (the ones who didn't die), they can only withstand their daily physical pain with very strong pain killers.

Who supported Khomeini and made him huge on their cover pages and TV news programs? (the media in US, England and France). He was living in his house in Najaf Iraq, do you think it was the Shah's or Saddam's decision that had him move to France and be put under the mass media spotlight of the "west"?

Who helped make the Taliban and Al-Qaeda powerful, and all the other dictatorial sheikhs and sultans and Amirs who are in power in the Arabian countries? Freedom, human rights, friendship, respecting other people and countries, democracy, such nice thoughts.

Do you think we should attack Iran also? Let's see, based on the premise that they don't have nuclear bombs but if they were to have one in the future they won't hesitate to bomb Israel, so, we should attack them. Which country and people have been the best friends and a safe haven for the Jewish people throughout the centuries? (it's not acknowledged in the mass media for it will reduce the demonization efforts of the war and hate-mongers). Did you know people of the Jewish faith live and work in different cities in Iran, and pray in their synagogues? Don't tell me you fell for the propoganda and tactics of demonization, fear and more war by the neocons, did you?

Yes it's time for less "aggression" and for wiser minds to prevail, for the sake of just a bit more sanity.

EB:

USA has took iran's democracy away during the mossadeq time, and replaced a democracy with a despot king, then again at revolution it supported a terrorist group who attacked civilians, in order to create chaos, and until 2006 they werent even classified as terrorist but as freedom fighters, those terrorist backed by USA, walked in and out of UN.US supplied chemical weapons to Iraq to use against iran, and it vetoed when the issue was brought to UN, if you guys go to youtube and wiki and study about iran's US relation, you will see why iran would want to get nuclear weapons.

faithfulservant3:

Maziar Bahari:

Thank you for this interview. It is rare and refreshing to see a piece in the American media about the Middle East that is both historical and insightful; or either for that matter.

Why isn't this information displayed more prominently in the Post? The same reason there is no transparency with respect to the West's proposed economic package to Iran. Those in power do not want a diplomatic solution.

David :

What is more plausible, that the Iran is developing nuclear weapons to destroy Israel, the U.S. and the whole world because they are "just against freedom, and evil." (Come on!)
Or, that the U.S. is interested in securing oil worldwide, and it's concerned because if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, they won't be able to invade them as easily and get at their oil!? Remember what happened to their neighbor - Iraq? Where were all those weapons of mass destruction? Funny how now U.S. firms recently got all of the oil contracts for Iraqi oil development. Hmm. If I were Iran, and I saw what happened to my neighbor, I would develop nuclear weapons too. And fast!

David:

What is more plausible? That Iran, once it has developed nuclear weapons, will use them to try and take down Israel, the U.S. (and the entire world!) because they are "just plain evil". (Come on.)
Or, that the U.S. and Israel is trying to grab every oil resource that it can, before the rest of the world does, and is scared that if Iran develops a nuclear weapon it will be far more difficult to invade them than it is right now! Just look at what happened to their neighbor, Iraq. Where were the weapons of mass destruction there? Who ended up getting all of the oil contracts in Iraq? U.S. oil firms. Memories are short. If I were Iran, I sure as hell would develop nuclear weapons too - and fast!

Anonymous:

BiffGriff: There are Hezbollah sleeper cells in America right now, just waiting for Iran to develop the capability to develop 20-30 high yield bombs PER YEAR. This people mean business and they are coming for us! Why can't anyone see that?
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With Obama in president seat for next four years, Gen. Petraeus and upline command will have little to do except twidle their thumbs, unless of course Obama goes on a marijuana binge.

With McCain in president love seat, God can only forecast what these commanders will be asked to do.

Let us pray, we get a level headed secretary of defense for the next four years, or better still let Robert Gates continue regardless of who wins.

BiffGriff:

There are Hezbollah sleeper cells in America right now, just waiting for Iran to develop the capability to develop 20-30 high yield bombs PER YEAR. This people mean business and they are coming for us! Why can't anyone see that?

David Israel, US:

Raymond, because the west had enganged in aggression against iran's national interest and natural resources since more than 30 years before the revolution. Like Israel and other nations they want to be entitled to their independence. Also, don't u think that that as in Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergman could be bit biased when it comes to Iran?

David Israel:

I have to absolutely agree with Dr. Etemad. He seems to have a thorough understanding of the eco-political situation of the region. The west has been pushing Iran into a corner for over 30 years now. And the Iranian people are not happy with that. We need to respect their sovereignty and try to negotiate from an equal standpoint.

Raymond in DC:

Like any good nationalist, Dr. Etemad rationalizes the actions of Iran's current regime he otherwise doesn't support. He argues that Iran is only taking defensive action against an aggressive West, including Israel. Psychiatrists would call this "projection". But as Ronen Bergman amply demonstrates in his recently published "The Secret War With Iran", it is Iran that has engaged in aggression against the West since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Craig Busse:

I don't know what post RORY was reading but all I see confirmed is that the Western policy of sanctions and isolation is in serious danger of achieving the opposite of the intended result and that going back to the Shah Iran had a very legitimate interest in nuclear power.

Toman:

Obviously Dr. Etemad has connections with current regime. No one in their right mind would support (in any shape or form) Iran's nuclear program under the current regime unless he/she benefits from this regime's survival.

Rory:

Wow. Just wow.

In one fell swoop, the Post manages to confirm that Iran is developing nukes, and argue that the only reason those innocent, peace-loving mullahs are doing so is because we don't give them enough love.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.