by Tahir Mahmoud (World, Crescent International Vol. 32, No. 13 2003-10, Sha'ban, 1424)
In view of the US’s disastrous entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be logical to expect that Washington would be a little more circumspect in picking fights elsewhere. If logic prevailed in Washington that would be a reasonable hope, but US policy today is in the control of hardcore warriors who are being goaded by a zionist cabal. These men have advanced such demonic notions as "perpetual war" and "pre-emptive strikes." So Washington’s mad dogs and their zionist allies are now barking at Iran over its peaceful nuclear programme.
On September 12 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gave Tehran until October 31 to accept tougher inspections over and above its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and prove that it has no secret atomic-weapons programme, or face UN sanctions. This deadline prompted Iran to threaten a "deep review" of its cooperation with the IAEA; Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, walked out of the meeting. He claimed that Washington now has more invasion plans, with Tehran being one of the primary targets.
America’s warmongering tactics and Israel’s goading are not merely speculation. On September 22 retired US general Wesley Clark, a democratic presidential contender, said that soon after September 11, 2001, president Bush and his advisors drew up plans to attack seven Muslim countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Two have indeed been attacked and occupied, although the occupation forces have run into stiff resistance, largely unforeseen, in both theatres. Israel has made no secret of its enmity to Iraq or Iran; the attack on Iraq was urged by Israel and its lobby in Washington, joined by such right-wing Christian fundamentalists as vice president Dick Cheney and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. On September 2 Silvan Shalom, the Israeli foreign minister, alleged that Iran was "fast approaching the point of no return in its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capability." He described this as a "nightmare scenario," according to an Agence France Presse report.
Further grist was added to this rumour mill when Iran displayed its Shahab-III missiles during defence day celebrations on September 22 to mark the day when Iraq attacked Iran in 1980. The Shahab-III has a 1,000-mile range that Tehran insists is to be used for defence purposes, but Washington and Tel Aviv do not want any Muslim country to have the ability to defend itself. Israel has run amok in the Middle East and the US has talked openly since August 2002 about deploying tactical nuclear weapons, yet it is Iran and Pakistan that have targeted for a venomous campaign.
Iran has indicated that it is willing to enter into discussions with the IAEA about its peaceful nuclear programme, but the US and Israel demand immediate and unconditional surrender. This arrogance forced ambassador Salehi to say: "We will have no choice but to have a deep review of our existing level and extent of engagement with the agency vis-a-vis this resolution," following the IAEA resolution in Vienna on September 12. Taking umbrage at Iran’s defence of its principled position, US ambassador Kenneth Brill said that any decision by Tehran to suspend the IAEA inspection process would be interpreted as an admission that Iran is pursuing atomic weapons.
The quest for nuclear energy, especially by Muslim countries, has become highly politicized. Energy experts agree that Iran has genuine energy needs for its growing population that cannot be met from hydrocarbon sources. In fact, it is not economical for Iran to burn its gas to produce electricity. Israel has never so much as received a slap on the wrist for its ambitious nuclear programme; Tel Aviv has not signed the NPT and has stubbornly refused to allow anyone to inspect the nuclear reactors at Dimona and in the Negev desert. Israel is believed to have at least 250 nuclear warheads and the ability to deliver them to any part of the world. In June 1981 Israeli planes bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak outside Baghdad, which was under construction at the time. The US stands alone in dropping not one but two atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians (1945). Israel acquired its nuclear expertise under US president Dwight Eisenhower’s "Atoms for Peace" Programme in the 1950s, and France supplied the nuclear reactors that made possible Israel’s production of fissile material and nuclear warheads. Instead of censoring Israel for its criminal behaviour, Washington is busy targeting others for their peaceful nuclear programmes.
The IAEA and the UN have become willing instruments of American/zionist policy. Even Russia, which has an agreement with Iran to build a new power reactor at Bushehr (the earlier one was bombed by Saddam Husain during the 1980-88 war without Iraq drawing any opprobrium from the so-called international community for doing so), is being pressured to withhold nuclear technology from Iran even for peaceful purposes. And the European trio, Britain, France and Germany, which were trying to use a more softly-softly approach than the crude American tactics, joined Washington in demanding Iran’s compliance by October 31. After the resolution on September 12, IAEA chairman Mohamed El-Baradei said that the resolution sent "a very powerful message to Iran that they need to cooperate fully and immediately and to show complete transparency." Responding to these threats, Ayatullah Jannati, a senior alim in Iran, said during his jum’a khutbah on September 19 that such conditions would be a "humiliation" for Iran, and suggested that the government refuse to accept them.
Whatever the outcome of these tactics against Iran, it is clear that the US and Israel are determined to deprive Muslims of any technological abilities and achievements whatsoever. Muslims, for their part, must stand firm and show resolve in the face of such blackmailing tactics. If the events of recent months have shown anything, it is that Iraq’s compliance with US demands led to invasion, and North Korea’s refusal to bow to US pressure prevented it from being attacked. Strength, not weakness, is the best guarantee against aggression.