by Zia Sarhadi (World, Crescent International Vol. 33, No. 7, Rajab, 1425)
After months of virulent anti-Iran propaganda by zionists and Americans, becoming more strident daily as the US presidential elections draw near, the Islamic Republic hit back with a warning of its own. Defence minister Ali Shamkhani told a correspondent for al-Jazeera television on August 18 that pre-emptive strikes were not the exclusive preserve of the US or Israel; if Iran's security were threatened or the US planned to attack Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr, it will not hesitate to launch a pre-emptive strike. "We will not sit [with arms folded] to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," said Shamkhani; "America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Qandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Persian Gulf and we can be present in Iraq," he declared.
Dismissing threats that US forces in Iraq could be used to strike Iran, Shamkhani said: "The USmilitary presence [in Iraq] will not become an element of strength [for Washington] at our expense. The opposite is true, because their forces would turn into hostages"; i.e. in Iranian hands, in the event of an attack. He was responding to al-Jazeera's question about the growing threat of an American or Israeli strike against Islamic Iran's atomic-power plant at Bushehr. Leaving no doubt about how Tehran would respond, he said: "We will consider any strike against our nuclear installations as an attack on Iran as a whole, and we will retaliate with all our strength."
Rejecting claims that the US and Israel are separate entities, Shamkhani said: "Where Israel is concerned, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and it will not be able to launch any military operation without an American green light. You cannot separate the two." General Mohammad Bagher Zolqadr, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was quoted in the Iranian press on August 18 as saying that Tehran will strike the Israeli reactor at Dimona if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities. "If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear center, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israelwould be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move."
Given their experiences in Iraq, one might expect that US policy-makers would be sufficiently chastened not to repeat such mistakes elsewhere. But the zionist cabal that controls American policy is not satisfied: if the Iraqi adventure has turned sour, never mind; Iran—the real prize—beckons. That is where the US military thinks that it can retrieve its reputation. America's made-in-Israel policy is pushed by an army of zionist ideologues embedded in every level of government and the corporate media, who are hoarse with cries about not letting the "opportunity" slip by. Charles Krauthammer, a well-known zionist who probably best fits the stereotype of the ugly American, continues his rants against Iran in the Washington Post, while American officials from president George Bush down continue to hurl threats at Iran for its alleged nuclear-weapons programme and its alleged links to al-Qa'ida. One hears echoes of the allegations made against Iraq barely 18 months ago, which have turned out to be completely false; unfortunately American officials and their cheerleaders in the press and broadcast media are not ashamed of repeating lies even after they have been exposed.
Bush has said that he will keep the pressure on Iran; Condoleezza Rice, his national security advisor, has used crude language in interviews on US television. On August 8 she said the US does not rule out "recourse to force", while John Bolton, under-secretary of state for arms control, said that the US and its allies must apply "more robust techniques" against Iran's nuclear facilities. Such threats are designed to influence the thinking of the meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which starts in Paris on September 13. The UShopes that the IAEA will take Iran's case to the UN Security Council and impose sanctions, although this hope not likely to be realized: the IAEA has said that Iran is meeting its obligations. In any case, Shamkhani warned that if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked, Iran will no longer feel obliged to adhere to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), as that would mean that information provided to the IAEA had been passed to Iran's enemies.
Last October Islamic Iran suspended uranium-enrichment operations in return for European support on two points: to prevail upon the IAEA to stop further questioning of Iran's nuclear activities, and to help Iran with the acquisition of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Tehran has gone further; it has called for a nuclear-free Middle East, a call supported by all countries in the region except Israel. Washington's hypocrisy is evident in its opposition to a nuclear-free Middle East, because its ward – Israel – would have to give up its arsenal of several hundred nuclear weapons too.
US policy, however, is not based on logic or principle; it is driven by greed and the obsessive unreasonableness of the neoconservatives, led by the zionist cabal and their Christian fundamentalist allies. Ordinary mortals would be hanging their heads and shuffling their feet in embarrassment at being caught lying and being proved so comprehensively wrong, but not this cabal. They are now demanding that American soldiers carry on dying to serve Israel's interests; in this they are duly cheered by their well-drilled admirers in the corporate media. Never mind that the American army is having a hard time in Iraq, despite killing between 700 and 1,000 Iraqi civilians each month. After the farcical "handover of power" in Iraq at the end of June, the media, in accordance with the prepared script, have already shifted their attention elsewhere, secure in the knowledge that the American public has a very short memory. That US casualties continue to mount is also conveniently ignored.
While most Americans may still not understand why so many, especially Muslims, around the world hate their government and its policies, those at the receiving end of US missiles and other munitions know the difference between Washington's rhetoric and its actions. It is Muslim neighbourhoods—from Ghazzah, Ramallah, Jenin and al-Khalil in Palestine, to Najaf, Falluja, Nasariyya, Samarra and Baghdad in Iraq—that are on fire; it is Muslim blood that is being shed without reckoning. If there is anger in the Muslim world, it is amply justified; the ground underneath the Muslims' feet is on fire, yet they are required to applaud American "benevolence".
But if the Muslims are suffering, so are the American people. Never before has America been as isolated, and more hated, as it is under Bush and his gang; the "clash of civilizations" is truly under way. Those who set fire to others' lands face the risk of also being consumed by it themselves.