.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

GROWING IRANIAN PROBLEM As if all the trouble in Iraq, between Israel and the Palestinians and Saudi Arabia's apparent intent to go nuclear (more on that another time) weren't enough, the wise leadership of Iran has been busy pouring a little more oil into the fire of Middle East insecurity: "Iran parades new missiles daubed with threats to wipe Israel off map".
Nice bit of news to start your day with. Iran's ballistic missiles were paraded around yesterday bearing the peace loving and conciliatory messages of "We will crush America under our feet' and "Israel must be wiped off the map." Now given that the US has a huge military force parked directly on the other side of the Iran-Iraq border I'm not sure it is an entirely wise move of the Iranian government to start heating up its bad relations with America if it could simply have done nothing; that at least seems to be the Bush administrations policy towards Iran's nuclear weapons programme.
On the other hand I don't actually think that there is much of a likelihood that Iran would actually use its nuclear weapons against American, British or other coalition targets in the Gulf region. However its enmity against Israel is a real sticking point. President Khatami accused the rest of the world of hypocrisy because it is critical against Iran's weapons programme -which he simultaneously denies exists- but happily tolerates Israel's bomb. I'm not sure I can see much of a double standard here but perhaps someone would like to enlighten me. Israel is a Western democracy, that has had a workable nuclear deterrent since the 1970s and has so far not used it. It's primary purpose is for national defence, and given Israel's neighbourhood one can hardly fault the Israeli government for wanting a weapon that is capable of guaranteeing its military superiority vis a vis its neighbours. Iran on the other hand is a theocratic dictatorship, a sponsor of anti-Israeli terrorism and a keen rejctionist of a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a serious issue because whatever utopians of different stripes and colours may believe, aiming for this solution can only be achived by the elimination of either the Israelis or the Palestinians, and on a less hyperbolical level is simply unworkable, an argument Shlomo Avineri makes quite clearly.
Iran's weapons are being built to wipe Israel off the map as the Iranian leaders quite proudly proclaim. Now perhaps I've missed it, but when did the Israeli government announce that the official aim of its nuclear weapons programme was to wipe Iran off the map? Never. That is why there is no double standard in the West's treatment of the Israeli and Iranian weapons programmes. It has simply applied the same standards to two different situations and has unsurprisingly reached two different conclusions. That's how simple it is.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?