Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Nuclear Iran; First Thoughts

A lot of the problem of dealing with the Iran Nuclear issue is figuring out what we are dealing with:

Thing is, as President Ahmedinejad has pointed out a couple of weekends ago (I think) it is an accepted fact by the Iranian leadership that for Iran to pursue nuclear weapons would violate the very ideology they officially cleave to; Ayatollah Khomeini is very clearly on the record as saying that they violate the dictates of Islam. It is said that as long as Khomeini lived, Iran did not pursue the nuclear option. That is actually something we need to keep in mind and, as importantly, communicate as understanding, when we take a stand and/or engage with the issue. (And discuss the nuclear issue with respect to countries like Pakistan, etc.) I am not being naive; I am NOT saying that I believe the regime is not pursuing nuclear weapons. I am saying that one of the best places to start with an engagement is to challenge that regime--and every Muslim that defends the nuclear option--needs to be called on the hypocrisy of doing so. [And not just the Shia; the Laws of War as laid down by the The Prophet, and then his immediate successors as Caliph, clearly outlaw weapons that have long-term effects such as poisoning crops, wells/water tables, and so on.]

Secondly, we also need to engage the hypocrisy of the Non-Proliferation Treaty itself. The committment from all signatories was that, on the one hand non-nuclear states will not acquire weapons while, on the other hand, nuclear states will a) help non-nuclear states with their nuclear energy needs/programs/etc. and b) work seriously to reduce if not eliminate nuclear weapons. The whole discussion in mainstream discourse today focuses on the former without so much as a mention or lip service to the two items promised by the latter--even by folks that critique the role of existing nuclear powers.

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