THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE IRAN “THREAT” (Part 2)
COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 28 Oct 2009
The Iran Versus the U.S.-Israeli-NATO Threats
And the media tremble also.
Iranian words are also frightening, just as were Krushchev’s "I will bury you," the alleged Sandinista threat of a "revolution without borders," and Grenada’s reported threat to cut off the supply of nutmeg. Notoriously, in the rich load of disinformation that surrounds Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the West, it is held that Ahmadinejad once claimed that "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world,"60 and that he is a "Holocaust denier."61
Actually, in the first case, what Ahmadinejad really said was "This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time"62 — that is, he never threatened or predicted that Israel would be militarily attacked, but asserted that it would disappear as a "Jewish," i.e., racist, state, and he went on to make an analogy with the disappearance of the Soviet Union.
In the case of the holocaust, Ahmadinejad doesn’t deny Nazi Germany’s efforts in the 1930s and 1940s to kill or drive away as many Jews and other victims as possible. Instead, he says repeatedly that the Europeans compounded this crime when, in the aftermath of World War II, in classic imperial fashion, they tried to solve their "Jewish problem" by imposing a "Jewish state" upon the Palestinians. Ahmadinejad also says that these topics ought to be studied, and no one ought to assume that the final word on history has been established.
In other words, first the Europeans carried out the holocaust, then they transferred it to the Middle East. And these are the same Europeans (and Americans, the West) who lecture Iranians about the difference between "civilization" and "barbarism," and warn that the "greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction"!63
But it was convenient to misinterpret his words as a military threat, just as in parallel it was convenient to ignore the fact that Israel has repeatedly made actual threats to bomb Iran, has openly discussed plans for such an attack, and has aggressively sought U.S. action along the same line or approval of an Israeli attack.64
As regards holocaust denial, even if true what would it prove beyond ignorance and gross insensitivity? Is it a worse crime than the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on the West Bank? Isn’t the West’s support of this ethnic cleansing and unwillingness to penalize Israel in any way for its murderous attack on Gaza more despicable than holocaust denial, given that it protects actual and ongoing killing and dispossession based on religious-ethnic bias rather than merely misrepresenting history? Isn’t this protection of Israel a form of "slow-genocide denial"?
10. We started this catalogue by saying that the most remarkable feature of the construction of the Iran "threat" is that it is has been organized by the world’s three preeminent gangster regimes. But equally remarkable, we believe, is that, like the Guatemalan threat of Soviet proxy aggression, the Nicaraguan threat of a "revolution without borders," and Iraq’s WMD ready to raise "mushroom clouds" over Western capitals, the Iran threat is mythical.
The Iranians have no nuclear bomb, may well have no intention of building a nuclear bomb, and, even if they ever did build one, could only use it in an act of desperate self-defense against their enemies, who have lots of nuclear bombs and the means of delivering them,65 and regularly threaten to use them against Iran.
U.S. power has made the Iran nuclear program into a global fright and forced the IAEA to focus incessantly on whether Iran is abiding by its commitments under the NPT or hiding something from IAEA inspectors.
In a way this is comical, as the U.S. violates its own NPT promise without notice, let alone penalty; its client Israel is permitted to stay outside the NPT, build nuclear weapons, and threaten Iran, without notice or penalty; the U.S. can exempt from NPT rules other states like India and Pakistan in accord with its current calculations of political and/or economic advantage; and the U.S. can still mobilize the IAEA, Security Council, and international community to contain the menacing Iran — still bombless, and still threatened with attack.
Concluding Note: The Struggle for Western Hegemony
Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc (symbolized by the downing of the Berlin Wall in November 1989), the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself in 1991, and the termination of the Warsaw Pact military alliance that same year, the allegedly "defensive" North Atlantic Treaty Organization has expanded from 16 members to 28, disregarding an agreement between the first Bush administration and the last Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in which Bush I pledged that the "borders of NATO would not move eastward" if the Soviet Union agreed to the peaceful reunification of East and West Germany in October 1990.66
In its wholesale violation of this agreement, NATO added to its membership the Czech Republic (1999), Hungary (1999), Poland (1999), Bulgaria (2004) Estonia (2004), Latvia (2004), Lithuania (2004), Romania (2004), and Slovakia (2004), and it added Slovenia (2004), Albania (2009) and Croatia (2009) as well.67 NATO also maintains Partnership for Peace relations with 22 other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,68 and Mediterranean Dialogue relations with 7 others (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia).69
One of the great myths of the past two decades holds that the collapse of the Soviet bloc signaled the passing of the East-West "bloc era" of the global order. But in fact it has ushered in an era of U.S.-led Western bloc hegemony, as signaled by the first war against Iraq in early 1991, the more extensive invasions and occupations of this first decade of the 21st Century, and the buildup of NATO as an instrument of global domination.
Although it served as NATO’s rationale for more than 40 years, the threat posed by the Soviet bloc to Western Europe and the United States was wildly exaggerated, and NATO’s post-Soviet expansion has taken place in an environment where the United States and other great Western powers have faced no real military challenge.
However, there was the challenge that dismantling NATO would harm military establishment interests and those of weapons dealers in both the United States and Europe, and would end the justification for U.S. bases in Europe and weaken the United States’ ability to dominate Western military and even economic policy and to mobilize Europe for its program of global domination (under the rubric of a "war on terror").
Along with this challenge was the opportunity for the United States to continue and even enlarge its domination, making NATO into an instrument of the war on terror — in reality, a war of terror and conquest.
For the United States to accomplish this requires enemies and threats. If real enemies and threats aren’t available, then manufactured enemies and threats are called for, and it was also possible to manufacture real ones by sufficient provocation of relatively weak powers and forcing their armament or movement to trigger-ready violence.
As a key member of NATO, the United States was heavily responsible for that organization’s military attacks on Russia’s ally Yugoslavia, 1995-1999, its putting the KLA-dominated Kosovo Protection Corps (and later the Armed Forces of Kosovo) in power in this southern Serbian province, eventually giving it independent state status and recognition (from February 2008 on), and setting the stage for NATO-member Albania and its Kosovo ally to threaten a military struggle for a unified Greater Albania.70
NATO and the United States have seriously threatened Russia by incorporating into NATO the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe; by building military bases in Romania, Bulgaria, and Kosovo; by threatening anti-missile sites in Czechoslovakia and Poland, now cancelled in favor of more numerous mobile sites throughout Europe and the Middle East along with planned Aegis missile-carrying ships, still allegedly devoted to that monumental threat from nuclear-bomb-free Iran; and by "democracy-promotion" intervention and the aggressive militarization of Russia’s southern flank, including the arming, training, and active support of Georgia in its 2008 conflict with Russia and ongoing attempts to bring both Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO.
This is threat manufacture of an especially blatant sort, but the Free Press has made Russia’s very lagged hostile reaction into a new Russian pugnacity.71
There are other "threats" with which NATO’s "New Strategic Concept" must allegedly contend. In various speeches and conferences, NATO leaders have claimed a need for NATO military preparedness to deal with what are now referred to as "Third-Millennium concerns."
Current NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently listed 17 different "deadly threats" among the "growing list of responsibilities" to which NATO must be prepared to respond, most of which read like they derived from survivalist literature, including global warming, drought, food security, population migrations, energy security, storms, natural and humanitarian disasters, nuclear threats, cyber attacks, and piracy.72
Why these are the "responsibility" of a U.S.-EU-based "defensive" military organization is not clear, except that its dominant powers choose to displace the more multilateral and democratically representative United Nations with something more controllable and willing to rely heavily on force.
In the case of "energy security," there is a question of whose security is at stake, and how it may be obtained. Isn’t China’s "energy security" threatened by the U.S. and NATO conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq, by their political penetration of the Caspian basin countries, and by their threat of war against Iran?
Isn’t the U.S.-U.K. invasion-occupation of Iraq, with NATO collaboration, an attempt to gain "energy security" by force in violation of international law? Could it be that all of these threats, including the "nuclear," are being defined by the NATO powers strictly in accord with the economic and political interests of their principals, who represent a small minority of the global population?
The United States is still expanding the number and reach of its military bases, moving into Africa, planning multiple bases in Colombia, and building them throughout Eastern Europe, the Caspian basin, and the Balkans. The United States and NATO have brought Finland and Sweden into cooperative military arrangements and have gotten many of the new NATO entrants and NATO "partners" to re-arm and to contribute forces to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As the U.S.-based analyst Rick Rozoff observes, "A major function of the Afghan war is to train military forces from over fifty nations — in five continents, the Middle East and Oceania — under NATO command for counterinsurgency and other combat operations both in South Asia and afterwards in other parts of the world. In doing so numerous NATO partnership countries . . . are to varying degrees being integrated into the bloc’s plan for history’s first global army."73
But this army will not serve the interests of the populations of the newly mobilized "partners," nor will it keep the peace and security of the world. In fact, it will be a mercenary army, one ready to be deployed at the behest of its dominant members, who are now searching desperately for "grunts" to relieve themselves of the growing burdens of their global "responsibilities."
Even now the United States is helping rebuild Georgia’s armed forces, and the U.S. and NATO stage regular war games and exercises with the Baltic, Scandinavian, Caspian basin, and Balkans states, all serving to provoke and threaten Russia and Iran, and to manufacture an environment of conflict and fear conducive to militarization and war.
To cover over their own power projection and systems of permanent warfare and ethnic cleansing (in the case of Israel), the United States and Israel need villains and "threats." Both Iran and Russia have been demonized and mobilized to serve this purpose. And this program designed for permanent tension and war has been working well.
In fact, it has been working much better than it did in the case of the 1954 regime change in Guatemala. At that time, the disarmed target, about to be attacked by a mercenary army funded and directly assisted by the United States, appealed to the UN and international community for assistance. It got none, U.S. power assuring that the UN would deflect this appeal, and the other great powers failing to respond.74
But in the case of Iran, the UN actually helps the aggressor by providing a politicized instrument, the IAEA, which the aggressor can use — like it used the weapons-inspections program of UNMOVIC against Iraq in 2002-2003 — to focus attention on Iran’s inability to prove that it possesses no secret, undeclared nuclear weapons program beyond the reach of the IAEA’s inspectors, while the IAEA and the entire Western establishment ignore the vastly more serious NPT and other international law violations of the United States, its closest allies, and its clients. And in contrast with Guatemala in 1954, Britain and France are actively collaborating in the preparation for an attack on the U.S. target, Iran.
In this context, it is vital to recall that in 1996, the fourteen judges of the International Court of Justice ruled unanimously that "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control" — "without any doubt an objective of vital importance to the whole of the international community today."75
Yet, every one of the five declared nuclear weapon states have failed to meet this obligation from 1970 on, while one of these five, the United States, has shielded three other nuclear weapon rogue proliferators from acceding to the NPT, even as it singles out Iran for sanctions, threats, subversion — and perhaps much worse.
Thus in his remarks before the General Assembly (Sept. 23) and the Security Council on the day that Resolution 1887 was adopted (Sept. 24), Barack Obama said "this is not about singling out individual nations."76 But he then proceeded to single out by name Iran (and North Korea), as did Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, even as the United States was reaffirming the special exemptions from the NPT that it has arranged for both Israel and India. For the Great-Power rogues, the opening of the 64th Session of the UN was an orchestrated ganging-up on Iran.
And this is all part of a U.S.-NATO program for providing the world "peace and security" through strength and war. This is a Kafka-world advance over Guatemala 1954.
1 See The American Republics, "Guatemala," viz. "The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices," May 28, 1954, in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952 – 1954, Vol. IV, 1137-1139, here 1137.
2 Thomas McCann, An American Company: The Tragedy of United Fruit (New York: Crown, 1978), 47.
3 Leslie Gelb’s tenure as foreign affairs and diplomatic editor at the New York Times was interrupted by a stint as director of policy planning at the Pentagon and later as policy planner in the State Department. On the revolving door and co-optation process at the New York Times, see Edward S. Herman, The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward Herman Reader (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1999), 76-78.
4 About the class- and professional biases of the establishment’s primary lunacy, a study commissioned by the British government’s Panel on Fair Access to the Professions compared social mobility trends for two different birth cohorts in Britain (1958 and 1970) and found that, beginning in the 1960s, the apprenticeship route to professional careers began to decline; this trend has accelerated since. But the "biggest decline in social mobility occurred in the professions of journalism and accountancy" (19), with some 98% of entrants to the profession of journalism already possessing a degree in journalism or other post-graduate qualification (25). By this decade, less than 10% of new entrants into the field of journalism in Britain came from working-class backgrounds, and only 3% from homes headed by semi-skilled or unskilled labor. The "consequence is that some professions draw their interns from a limited pool of talent," the profession of journalism in particular (101). See the White Paper by Alan Milburn et al., Unleashing Aspiration: The Final Report of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions (U.K. Government, July, 2009). We are confident that a similar study of journalism in the United States would produce similar findings.
5 The UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) was created by Security Council Resolution 1284 on December 17, 1999. But it was Resolution 1441 on November 8, 2002 that stated the Council was giving Iraq one "final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" (para. 2), although, as history shows, Iraq already had complied, its WMD programs having been destroyed by the UNSCOM inspectors by 1995, and that Res. 1441’s assertions that Iraq was then "in material breach of its [disarmament] obligations" (para. 1) were Great-Power fabrications designed to advance the imminent and criminal U.S.-U.K. aggression against Iraq.
6 See, e.g., "UK, US and Spain Won’t Seek Vote on Draft Resolution, May Take ‘Own Steps’ to Disarm Iraq," UN News Center, March 17, 2003. As France’s UN Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière stated upon hearing of the U.S.-U.K. decision to drop their effort to gain Security Council approval: "During the last days members of the Council repeatedly stated that, and it is a majority in the Council, that it would not be legitimate to authorize the use of force now while the inspections set up by the resolution are producing results. And now I understand that the [U.S.-U.K. cosponsors of the draft resolution] made some bilateral consultations last night and this morning and the result is that the majority of the Council confirms that they do not want to authorize the use of force. The majority considers that it would not be legitimate."
7 UN Security Council Resolution 1483 of May 22, 2003 lifted the 13 year economic siege of Iraq (para. 10), turned Iraq over to the United Nations to begin mopping up the humanitarian disaster that the sanctions and invasion had caused, and initiated the scramble for Iraq’s resources. Security Council Resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004, by creating a Multinational Force for Iraq, and placing the United States in charge of it, granted retroactive de jure legitimation to the U.S. and allied military occupation of Iraq.
8 The most memorable of the high-profile mea culpas (however narrow) on the part of the news media did not begin to emerge until May 2004, when the New York Times famously acknowledged its partial liability for "coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been," printing "questionable" allegations that were "insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged," and failing to be "more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged or failed to emerge" (see "The Times and Iraq," Editorial, May 26, 2004). It is worth noting that, by May 2004, the Times already had been printing questionable allegations about Iran’s nuclear program for some 12 months.
9 Speaking on the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, President George Bush proclaimed ”one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on.” Less than one week later, the Bush administration began to express concerns that "Iran has stepped up its covert nuclear program," sought "broad international support for an official finding that Tehran has violated its commitment not to produce nuclear weapons," and began "pressing nations that sit on the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency . . . to declare that Iran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" (Steven R. Weisman, "New U.S. Concerns on Iran’s Pursuit of Nuclear Arms," New York Times, May 8, 2003). Before the end of May 2003, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a news conference in Washington D.C. to announce that Iran is covertly enriching uranium — "information that, if proven, might add to the Bush administration’s argument that Iran is violating its commitment not to produce nuclear weapons" (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Group Says Iran Has 2 Undisclosed Nuclear Laboratories," New York Times, May 27, 2003).
The same month, both houses of the U.S. Congress "approved a series of provisions sought by the White House and the Pentagon that could open the door to development of new nuclear weapons. . . . [T]he House eased a 10-year-old ban on research into smaller nuclear weapons while the Senate lifted it entirely. Lawmakers also rejected proposals to block spending on turning existing nuclear warheads into weapons capable of piercing underground bunkers" (Carl Hulse and James Dao, "Cold War Long Over, Bush Administration Examines Steps to a Revamped Arsenal," New York Times, May 29, 2003).
A communiqué released in early June at the Group of Eight summit in France warned of the "proliferation implications of Iran’s nuclear program," and one U.S. official commented anonymously that, at the IAEA meeting later that month, ”Iran’s going to be on the griddle" (John Tagliabue and Elizabeth Bumiller, "Group of 8 Summit Leaders Talk Tough On Spread of Nuclear Arms," New York Times, June 3, 2003).
Speaking in Germany, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned against "Iran’s nuclear activities and called on the Atlantic alliance to find new ways of combating ‘the nexus of terror and weapons of mass destruction’, which he called the biggest threat facing the countries of both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe" (Richard Bernstein, "Rumsfeld Says Iran Is Developing Nuclear Arms Under Guise of Civilian Program," New York Times, June 12, 2003). Also in June, the IAEA published the first of what would become a total of 27 written reports on Iran’s nuclear program through the time of this writing (October, 2009). According to the New York Times, the "debate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions intensified today at the United Nations’ watchdog agency on atomic weapons, as the United States and other countries tried to rally support for a resolution urging Iran to accept stricter supervision of its nuclear program" (Mark Lander, "U.S.and U.N. Agency Press Iran on Its Nuclear Program," June 18, 2003).
"President Bush said for the first time today that the United States and its allies ‘will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon’ in Iran," the New York Times also reported (David E. Sanger, "Bush Says U.S. Will Not Tolerate Building of Nuclear Arms by Iran," June 19, 2003).
"One of the central challenges of the coming decade is to stop nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of dictators and terrorists," the New York Times editorialized. "Iran has just shown us the nature of the problem" ("Iran and Nuclear Weapons," June 22, 2003). Although limited to the New York Times, these excerpts illustrate the early stages of the U.S. government-driven construction of the Iranian nuclear weapons threat, and an uncritical, conduit function similar to that which the Times had performed in passing along the U.S. government’s construction of the Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" threat, ca. 2002 – March, 2003.
10 See John Bellamy Foster, Hannah Holleman, and Robert W. McChesney, "The U.S. Imperial Triangle and Military Spending,"Monthly Review, October 2008.
11 Colin Powell (and Joseph E. Persico), My American Journey(New York: Ballantine, 1995), 576.
12 See Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, Eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2004).
13 See William Burr, Ed., "U.S.-Iran Nuclear Negotiations in 1970s Featured Shah’s Nationalism and U.S. Weapons Worries," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 268, January 13, 2009, esp. Documents 31a-b, "Final Agreement." Even then, however, in 1978, recognizing the tenuousness of the Shah’s hold on power, the Carter administration was reluctant to permit Iran to "reprocess spent fuel or enrich uranium supplied by the U.S. ‘unless the parties agree’."
14 See the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (INFCIRC/140).
15 See Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998); and "Israel Crosses the Threshold," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 189, April 28, 2006.
16 See Statement by Rose Goettemoeller [on the NPT], U.S. Department of State, May 5, 2009. Also see "The Israeli nuke kerfuffle," Foreign Policy – The Cable, May 7, 2009.
17 Avner Cohen and George Perkovich, "The Obama-Netanyahu Meeting: Nuclear Issues," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, May 14, 2009.
18 Eli Lake, "Obama Agrees to Keep Israel’s Nukes Secret," Washington Times, October 2, 2009.
19 See "Israeli Nuclear Capabilities" (GC(53)/RES/17), IAEA, September 18, 2009.
20 Mark Weiss, "Israel Spurns Nuclear Watchdog’s Call to Open Atomic Sites to Inspection," Irish Times, September 19, 2009. The print media’s silence is worsened by the fact that several readily available wire services reported the vote, including Agence France Presse, Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Dow Jones International News, FARS News Agency, IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, Kyodo News, Morning Star Online, Plus News Pakistan, States News Service, Trend News Agency, and Xinhua News Agency. Also see "Iran: The Wardance," Media Lens, October 1, 2009.
21 Article IX(3) of the NPT defines a "nuclear-weapon State" as "one which has manufactured and exploded a nuclear weapon or other nuclear explosive device prior to 1 January 1967." At the time the NPT entered into force on March 5, 1970, the five internationally recognized (or declared) nuclear-weapon states were the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and China. Of course, the sixth actual nuclear-weapon state, Israel, had not declared itself, though it had already reached its secret understanding with the Nixon administration to keep its nuclear weapons program "invisible" (Cohen and Perkovich).
23 See Matthew Cardinale, "U.S. Nukes Agency Pushes New Bomb Production," Inter Press Service, September 30, 2009 (as posted to Truthout). Known within the U.S. Department of Energy as the Complex Modernization program, it is but "another title to give [the National Nuclear Security Administration] permission to build new bombs," said anti-nuclear weapons activist Bobbie Paul. "It flies in the face of what [Barack Obama] told the rest of the world."
24 See The Alliance’s Strategic Concept, adopted by the North Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., April 23-24, 1999, esp. "Characteristics of Nuclear Forces," para. 62-64. "To protect peace and to prevent war or any kind of coercion, the Alliance will maintain for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces based in Europe and kept up to date where necessary," NATO’s 1999 reaffirmation of nuclear weapons states. "Nuclear weapons make a unique contribution in rendering the risks of aggression against the Alliance incalculable and unacceptable. Thus, they remain essential to preserve peace" (para. 46).
25 UN Security Council Resolution 1887, September 24, 2009, para. 5, para. 4.
26 Martin van Crevald, "Sharon on the Warpath: Is Israel Planning to Attack Iran?" New York Times – International Herald Tribune, August 21, 2004.
27 Seymour Hersh, "The Iran Plans," New Yorker, April 17, 2006.
28 Brian Ross, "Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran," ABC News, May 22, 2007.
29 Seymour M. Hersh, "Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration Steps Up Its Secret Moves against Iran," New Yorker, July 7, 2008.
30 Hersh, "The Iran Plans."
31 See, e.g., Dan Williams, "Eying Iran Reactor, Israel Seeks U.S. Bunker Bombs," Reuters, September 21, 2004.
32 Ali Akbar Dareini, "Iran to Allow IAEA Visit Nuclear Site," Associated Press, September 26, 2009.
33 Yaakov Katz and David Horovitz, "Eye in the Sky," Jerusalem Post Magazine, September 17, 2009.
34 See the Interview, "U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller Outlines the U.S. Position on a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia," Interfax Information Services, May 4, 2009.
35 See Jay Deshmukh and Farhad Pouladi, "Suicide Bomber Kills 30 in Attacks on Iran’s Guards," Agence France Presse, October 18, 2009; Ali Akbar Dereini and Nasser Karimi, "Revolutionary Guard Commanders Killed in Bomb," October 18, 2009; Fredrik Dahl and Reza Derakhshi, "Suicide Bomber Kills 29 in Attack on Iran Guards," Reuters, October 18, 2009; "FACTBOX: Sunni Group Suspected of Killing 29 in Iran," Reuters, October 18, 2009; Ali Akbar Dareini, "Iran: US, Britain, Pakistan Linked to Militants," Associated Press, October 19, 2009; Fredrik Dahl, "Iran Threatens Britain and U.S. after Guard Bombing," Reuters, October 19, 2009; "Russian Analyst Expects More Suicide Bombings in Iran," RIA Novosti, October 19, 2009; Robert Tait and Mark Tran, "Iran Blames Pakistan and West for Deadly Suicide Bombing," The Guardian, October 19, 2009; Michael Slackman et al., "Iran Says U.S., Britain Behind Attack," New York Times, October 19, 2009.
36 See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, "Riding the ‘Green Wave’ at the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Beyond," MRZine, July 24, 2009. In drafting this analysis, we were astounded over how willing left analysts in the States and elsewhere were to conclude that the official outcome of Iran’s June 12, 2009 presidential election was fraudulent, and the election rigged. Based on what evidence, we wondered? Iran’s June 2005 presidential runoff election between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Akbar Rafsanjani resulted in a 2 to 1 margin of victory for Ahmadinejad, who received 62% to Rafsanjani’s 31%. Turning to Iran’s June 2009 presidential election, the official results for the first round were 63% for Ahmadinejad, and 34% for Mir Hussein Mousavi, or slightly less than a 2 to 1 margin of victory for Ahmadinejad. But this result simply could not be true, the objections to Iran’s "stolen" election have maintained. In rejecting the legitimacy of the official results, the leftist Campaign for Peace and Democracy stated that "there is very powerful evidence that either no one emerged with a majority [in the first round], or that Mousavi won outright" (Stephen R. Shalom et al., "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis," Campaign for Peace and Democracy, July 7, 2009, Point No. 3). Yet, a poll of Iranian public opinion taken from August 27 – September 10 by WorldPublicOpinion.org on behalf of the Program on International Policy Attitudes found that 55% of Iranians who agreed to take the poll reported that they had voted for Ahmadinejad in June, while 14% reported they had voted for his nearest rival, Mousavi. When also asked "If the same election were to be repeated tomorrow, who would you vote for?" 49% responded Ahmadinejad, and only 8% Mousavi (Steven Kull et al., Iranian Public on Current Issues, PIPA-WorldPublicOpinion.org, September 19, 2009, 8-9. Also see the accompanying Questionnaire, Q20 and Q23). Similarly, a pre-election poll in May by three U.S.-based organizations had also found "Ahmadinejad leading [Mousavi] by more than a 2 to 1 margin" (Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty, "The Iranian People Speak," Washington Post, June 15, 2009). For the actual poll, see Results of a New Nationwide Public Opinion Survey of Iran before the June 12, 2009 Presidential Elections (May 11 – 20, Terror Free Tomorrow, Center for Public Opinion, and New America Foundation, Q27, 52). Although PIPA-WPO reports that the interview refusal rate for its September 2009 poll was 52%, and that "only in the question on the presidential vote [Q20] were there large numbers of refusals," we believe that the combined results of the Terror Free Tomorrow poll in May, Iran’s official election results in June, and the results of the PIPA-WPO poll in September, clearly reinforce each other, just as they reinforce the conclusion that Ahmadinejad was the actual winner in Iran’s 2009 presidential election, independently of whether some vote fraud did occur.
37 See the "Joint Statement Between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," Bush White House Archives, July 18, 2005; Fact Sheet, "The United States and India: Strong Global Partners," July 18, 2006; "President Signs U.S.-India Peaceful Energy Cooperation Act," December 18, 2006; Fact Sheet, "The United States – India Peaceful Energy Cooperation Act," December 18, 2006; "President’s Statement on H.R. 5682, the ‘Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006’," December 18, 2006; and United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act (HR 7081), October 8, 2008. Also see Esther Pan and Jayshree Bajoria, "The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal," Council on Foreign Relations – Backgrounder, October 2, 2008.
38 See Siddharth Varadarajan, "The Truth behind the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal," The Hindu, July 29, 2005. Varadarajan cites the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Ashley Tellis, who in 2005 had advised: "[D]on’t jettison the [non-proliferation] regime ‘but, rather, selectively [apply] it in practice’. In other words, different countries should be treated differently ‘based on their friendship and value to the U.S.’ With one stroke of the pen, India has become something more than a ‘major non-NATO ally’ of the U.S. It has joined the Free World. It has gone from being a victim of nuclear discrimination to a beneficiary. India is not alone. Israel is already there to give it company."
39 Ravi Velloor, "India’s Big Shift to Nuclear Power," Straits Times (Singapore), September 30, 2009.
40 Emily Wax, "U.S. Eyes Bigger Slice of Indian Defense Pie,"Washington Post, September 27, 2009.
41 See James Lamont and James Blitz, "New Delhi Admission Raises Nuclear Stakes," Financial Times, September 28, 2009.
42 Robert O. Blake, Jr., "Readout of Indian and Tajik Bilateral Meetings," U.S. Department of State, September 25, 2009.
43 "Security Council Call to Join NPT Not Directed at India: PM," Indo-Asian News Service, September 26, 2009.
44 George W. Bush, "President Delivers State of the Union Address," Bush White House Archives, January 29, 2002.
45 See Implementation of the IAEA safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2003/40), June 6, 2003, para. 32-34. The Annex to this report lists the Iranian nuclear facilities that had subsequently been brought under IAEA safeguards.
46 For a brief recapitulation of the U.S. government’s shift of its focus away from Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons program onto Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program in May-June 2003, see n. 9, above.
47 NPT, Article IV.1 states: "Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination. . . ." Article IV.2 begins: "All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy."
48 Bradley Brookes, "Bolton: India, Pakistan nukes legitimate as they never signed proliferation treaty," Associated Press, March 2, 2006. At the same event hosted by the World Jewish Congress in New York, Bolton also explained the U.S. focus on Iran, rather than on India and Pakistan (or Israel): "In the context of the NPT, India and Pakistan had never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and therefore they weren’t in violation of it by having nuclear programs, in contrast with Iran that is a state party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that’s violating its obligations."
49 Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2006/14), February 4, 2006, para. (g), 1, 7, and 8.
50 See S/RES/1696 (July 31, 2006), S/RES/1737 (December 23, 2006), S/RES/1747 (March 24, 2007), and S/RES/1803, March 3, 2008.
51 See Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement . . . in the Islamic Republic of Iran (GOV/2009/55), August 28, 2009, para. 26.
52 GOV/2009/55, para. 29.
53 GOV/2003/40, para. 35.
54 Sylvia Westall, "No Sign Iran Seeks Nuclear Arms — New IAEA Head," Reuters, July 3, 2009.
55 See "The Nobel Peace Prize 2005," Nobelprize.org.
56 "Interview: Mohamed ElBaradei," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, September/October, 2009.
57 George Jahn, "Nuclear Agency Secret Report Says Iran Can Make Bomb, Developing Delivery System," Associated Press, September 17, 2009; William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, "Report Says Iran Has Data To Make A Nuclear Bomb," New York Times, October 4, 2009.
58 See "Statements by Obama, Brown and Sarkozy," New York Times, September 26, 2009.
59 Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (New York: Doubleday and Co., 1982), 150.
60 For two from among many of these allegations, see Dan Gillerman, Letter from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (S/2005/681), October 27, 2005; and Nazila Fathi, "Iran’s New President Says Israel ‘Must Be Wiped Off the Map,’" October 27, 2005. Ahmadinejad’s comments were made at the World Without Zionism conference in Tehran on October 26, 2005.
61 The charge that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a "Holocaust denier" was repeated from the lectern of the UN General Assembly in September by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. See Statement by H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, General Debate of the 64th General Assembly, New York, September 24, 2009.
62 See Juan Cole, "Hitchens the Hacker," Informed Comment, May 3, 2006; and Juan Cole, "The Importance of Cole v. Hitchens,"Informed Comment, May 4, 2006. Also see Anneliese Fikentscher and Andreas Neumann (Trans. Erik Appleby), "Does Iran’s President Want Israel Wiped Off the Map?" Information Clearinghouse, April 19, 2006; and Jonathan Steele, "Lost in Translation," The Guardian, June 14, 2006.
63 Statement by H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, September 24, 2009.
64 Israeli threats of attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities have been commonplace for several years. For an analysis of the likely success or failure of such an attack, see Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman, Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 16, 2009; also see Reuven Pedatzur, "Here’s How Israel Would Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Program," Haaretz, May 21, 2009. And for some mid-summer 2009 expressions of belligerence by the Israeli government, see Yaakov Katz, "Israel Sends Sub through Suez Canal," Jerusalem Post, July 3, 2009; Dan Williams, "Israeli Sub Sails Suez, Signalling Reach to Iran," Reuters, July 3, 2009; Yaakov Kaatz, "IAF to Train Overseas for Iran Strike," Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2009; Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter, "Saudis Give Nod to Israeli Raid on Iran," Sunday Times, July 5, 2009; Sheera Frenkel, "Israeli Navy in Suez Canal Prepares for Potential Attack on Iran," The Times, July 16, 2009.
65 See Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, "Nuclear Notebook: U.S. Nuclear Forces 2009," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April, 2009.
66 See Mark Kramer, "The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia," Washington Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 2, April 2009. Kramer is quoting the former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack F. Matlock, from House testimony in 1996. Remarkably, as indicated by the title of his essay, Kramer himself rejects the claim (amply documented in the sources he surveys) that Bush I and the Gorbachev Kremlin ever discussed — let alone agreed on — a no-enlargement plan for NATO beyond its then-16 members.
67 See the 28 "NATO Member Countries."
68 See the 22 "NATO Partner Countries."
69 See the "NATO Mediterranean Dialogue."
70 See Rick Rozoff, "Threat of New Conflict In Europe: Western-Sponsored Greater Albania," Stop NATO, October 8, 2009.
71 For the New York Times’ editors, Vladimir Putin is engaged in "constant snarling at the West" (Ed., "Putin Strengthens His Legacy," February 13, 2008); their news articles matter-of-factly speak of "the growing assertiveness of Russia" (Judy Dempsey, "U.S. Stance Toward Russia Again Divides Europe," September 10, 2009); and their guest op-ed columnist Victor Erofeyev writes that Putin’s "biggest mistake was his longing to make Russia the successor to the Soviet Union; . . . the imperial discourse . . . [and] his defense of the Soviet Union’s aggressive foreign policy. . ." ("Russia’s Last Hope," February 29, 2008).
72 See Lord Levene and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, "Piracy, Cyber-crime and Climate Change — Bringing NATO and Insurance Together," Daily Telegraph, September 30, 2009; and "Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Emerging Security Risks, Lloyd’s of London," NATO Speeches and Transcripts, October 1, 2009. Also see Rick Rozoff, "Thousand Deadly Threats: Third Millennium NATO, Western Businesses Collude On New Global Doctrine," Stop NATO, October 2, 2009; and Rick Rozoff, "U.S. Expands Asian NATO Against China, Russia," Stop NATO, October 16, 2009.
73 Rick Rozoff, "Afghanistan: West’s 21st Century War Risks Regional Conflagration," Stop NATO, October 12, 2009.
74 On this earlier UN role, see Schlesinger and Kinzer, Bitter Fruit, 179-182.
75 See Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, International Court of Justice, July 8, 1996, Opinion F, and para. 103. Although an "advisory opinion," and thus not legally binding on states, to date this counts as the most authoritative legal decision to have been produced on issues stemming from the existence of nuclear weapons and states’ obligations under the NPT.
76 Barack Obama, "Remarks by the President to the United Nations General Assembly," New York City, White House Office of the Press Secretary, September 23, 2009; and "Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament" (S/PV.6191), UN Security Council, September 24, 2009, 3.
Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media. Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981), The Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (South End Press, 1979), and Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2002).
David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago.
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