Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Update on Iran and nuks

  • For Iran, Sanctions Are a Price Worth Paying to Preserve the Islamic Republic - Hadi Kahalzadeh and John Schiemann
    Sanctions against Iran are predicated on a "rational actor model" in which the West hopes Iran's leaders will eventually find it in their own interests to give up their nuclear program. But for Iran's leaders, ideological and security concerns trump economic ones. In the eyes of the Iranian leadership, the "struggle against imperialism," one of the Islamic Republic's founding myths, is of far more importance than losing even billions of dollars.
        To supreme leader Ali Khamenei, continuation of its nuclear program and pursuance of its regional ambitions are key to the regime's long-term security. With Iran and the West playing different games, a peaceful resolution in the near future seems very unlikely.Hadi Kahalzadeh is a visiting scholar at Fairleigh Dickinson University. John Schiemann is chair of the department of social sciences and history at Fairleigh Dickinson. (Guardian-UK)
        See also U.S. Bets New Oil Sanctions Will Change Iran's Tune - Annie Lowrey and David E. Sanger (New York Times)
  • Bombing or the Bomb? - David Ignatius
    Israel faces a decision between "bombing or the bomb." In other words, if Israel doesn't attack, Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons. "It's not a bluff, they're serious about it," says Efraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. A half-dozen other experts and officials made the same point in interviews last week: The world shouldn't relax and assume that a showdown with Iran has been postponed until next year. In Israel, the alarm light is still flashing red.
        The negotiations with Iran by the "P5+1," rather than easing Israel's anxieties, may actually have deepened them. Netanyahu sees his country's very existence at stake, and he's prepared for Israel to go it alone because he's unwilling to entrust the survival of the Jewish state to others. (Washington Post)
On Iran, Israel Can't Be Wrong Once - Geoffrey St. John (Ottawa Citizen-Canada)
  • Though American intelligence has recently assessed that Iran's leadership has yet to decide whether actually to build its first nuclear weapon, there is little doubt that Iran seeks the technical capability to assemble such arms rapidly, should it make the decision to "go nuclear." For all intents and purposes, such a technical capability is tantamount to having nuclear weapons.
  • It has been argued that it is only "fair" that Iran should be allowed to have nuclear weapons, since countries such as Israel possess them. This argument has no traction in the real world of international politics. The stakes involved are simply too high to allow any argument of the "justice" of Iran having nuclear weapons to trump the vital national security interests of countries to which Iran is hostile.
  • Irrespective of the exact words used by Iranian leaders when talking about Israel, the tone is unquestionably menacing. Indeed, it is more than just words. Iran continues to arm both Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza with increasingly long-range rockets and missiles, some of which have already been launched against Israel. The first shots in the war between Israel and Iran were fired long ago by Lebanese and Palestinian militants.
  • Given its very small size, Israel has only to be wrong once about Iran to suffer the devastating consequences of an Iranian nuclear attack.

    The writer was the Canadian Defense Attache to Israel from 2004 to 2008.

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