Does Iran Need the Bomb to Protect Its Security?


In 1941, The Allies needed a route through Iran to get war supplies to Russia, which Germany had attacked. When Iran’s ruler, Reza Shah, objected, they exiled him to South Africa and replaced him with his son, Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah had been falsely accused of being pro-German, when his real reason was opposition to helping Iran’s ancient enemy, Russia.

In 1953, the United States, via Central Intelligence Agency-incited riots, deposed Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who was falsely accused of being a Communist or Communist sympathizer. He in fact was an Iranian nationalist who had nationalized his country’s oil industry. Washington’s motivation for the coup was a desire for continued cheap oil.

In his 2001 State of the Union speech, President George W. Bush singled out three nations as constituting an “Axis of Evil”: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The latter apparently already has exploded a nuclear weapon, thus gaining a measure of security from attack. Iraq has been attacked by the United States after false neocon-inspired accusations that it possessed “weapons of mass destruction” and that President Saddam Hussain had ties to al-Qaeda. As we now know (and knew then), neither charge was true.

Since 2002, the Israel lobby has continued to pump the American media that Iran is about to get nuclear weapons and that this constitutes an existential danger to Israel–”and even to the world. But according to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, Iran is five to ten years away from obtaining a bomb. So Israel–”which itself has an estimated 200 bombs–”is making a false charge.

Israel’s real goal is to stampede a reckless and unpredictable American president into militarily attacking Iran before his term expires, out of fear his successor would not do so. Thus the frenzy of the Israel lobby’s accusations–”which are merely statements, repeated endlessly and without proof–”is accelerating. The International Atomic Energy Agency has found no proof that Iran aims to acquire the bomb.

In the early 1970s, the late shah announced that Iran would build 10 nuclear power plants. His rationale was that Iran had a large population (it is 70 million today); no large export earners other than oil; and that large amounts of electric power for internal use would conserve oil export.

Israel did not object then, for Iran, wanting to help Israel, was selling it oil in defiance of the Arab oil boycott. Nor did Washington object.

The Iranians are a proud people whose legacy includes Cyrus the Great, who took storied Babylon in the 6th Century BC. When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denigrates the European Holocaust and Israel, it does not so much mean that he is anti-Jewish, but rather that Israel holds itself out as the strongest Middle Eastern nation–”when in Ahmadinejad’s opinion, that nation is Iran.

So, taking the experience of North Korea and the fanaticism of the Israel lobby into account, it would be easy to understand if Iran seeks to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Iranians feel that they have been mistreated by history, and they are looking for some respect.