Weekly Commentary: Iranian Nukes – Plain Talk on the Critical Assumption
Dr. Aaron Lerner
If the choice is between preventing a nuclear Iran and preventing the price
of gasoline from skyrocketing before the November presidential elections it’s
a no brainer for the Obama team.
A second term is without question more important than a nuclear Iran.
Before addressing the underlying logic of this position, a side note is
warranted regarding barring Iranian banks from the SWIFT system.
At the time of the announcement it really seemed as if Iran was facing an
unbearable sanction. In fact, Iranian officials compared the sanction to
nothing less than the closing of the Strait of Hormuz.
But while the move has indeed made the movement of funds in transactions
involving Iran considerably more cumbersome, we find ourselves already back
to work for close to a week after the Persian New Year holidays and the
story is well off the front pages. And it’s not just the barter
arrangements between Iran and two of its large energy customers, India and
China – deals that can readily extend to the Chinese and Indians paying
third parties on behalf of Iran and not just swapping fuel for Chinese and
Indian products. There is a lot of money out there to move around and a lot
of smart people who are figuring out how they can profit from facilitating
the transfer of funds without requiring a SWIFT connection to Iran.
So much for sanctions.
Back to why a second term is without question more important than a nuclear
Let’s put ourselves into the mindset of the Obama team:
In the eyes of the Obama administration, the worst case scenario of a
nuclear Iran is that the Iranians can brandish the nukes to deter anyone
from attacking Iran and Iran’s neighbors scramble to also get nukes.
Would it be so bad if countries were deterred from attacking Iran?
Iran supports Islamic “liberation movements”.
And in the PC Obama world, “radical Islam” is banished from the lexicon.
If anything, Iranian support for Hamas can help serve as a catalyst to get
those damn Israelis to finally throw in the towel and accept any and all
Arab demands to herald an era of utopian peace.
Iran feeds on the suffering of the oppressed. The way to stop Iranian
trouble making, the Obama team believes, is to address the aspirations of
the oppressed – not to fight Iran.
As for the danger that Iran’s neighbors will scramble to get nukes
themselves, this was only a matter of time – or alternatively - President
Obama in his second term will in fact achieve his dream of convincing the
entire world to disarm. So the nuke problem won’t really be a problem as
long as he can stay in the White House for another four years.
So what’s wrong with this logic?
Back to a basic critical assumption: that the Iranian leadership doesn’t
actually believe in what it professes to believe. They profess to believe,
as “Twelver Shiites”, that incinerating Israel with nuclear weapons – even
if followed up by the incineration of Iran – would be a positive thing
because the apocalyptic result would bring the return of the Hidden Imam.
Now there are some very bright academics who are convinced that the Iranian
leadership doesn’t actually believe in what it professes to believe.
But if they are wrong it would be a fatal error.
And in this case, it is best to respect the Iranian leadership and accept
the possibility that they aren’t faking their religion.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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