Expecting Tehran to surrender its nuclear ambitions is wishful thinking
- – Tuesday, November 4, 2014
The British Economist magazine gave its Nov. 1-7 cover story over to a lengthy puff piece on Iran, just in time for the U.S. congressional elections — or more likely, aimed at the looming Nov. 24 deadline for the current round of the endless “P5 + 1″ talks on Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
“The revolution is over,” The Economist bleated: The new, younger Iranian generation, all born well after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s 1979 revolution, aren’t religious, don’t go to the mosque and care a lot more about the Internet, getting ahead materially, and getting their hands on cutting-edge technology than Islam. Besides, according to Jack Straw, a former British foreign minister cited for the report, “Tehran looks and feels these days more like Madrid and Athens than Mumbai or Cairo.” (Given the burgeoning Muslim populations in European capitals, he may have a point.) The Green Movement is so five years ago, and Election Day marked 35 years since the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran.
Yes, some people got beaten up or arrested, tortured even, after those fraudulent 2009 presidential elections, but things have settled down a lot since then, says The Economist. The Qods Force is just “a special-operations unit” that “fights on Iran’s behalf outside the country” — nothing to do with exporting the revolution, liaison with Islamic terror groups such as al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State or the Taliban, or managing narcotrafficking operations in Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Americas.
Besides, the Iranians’ new president, Hassan Rouhani, is a “centrist” and “the face of moderation” in Iran today. Aside from the more than 900 executions in Iran since he became president in 2013, the important thing is that he’s been reaching out to the neighbors, you know: helping prop up Iranian puppets in Iraq and Syria, making sure Hamas doesn’t run out of missiles to lob at Israel, and reassuring internationally wanted war criminal, Sudanese President Omar Bashir, that charges of genocide are no impediment to good bilateral relations. As we should all realize by now, “Iran is a bastion of stability.” (Where did we hear that phrase before? Oh, yes, that was President Carter, when he called Iran “an island of stability” — in 1978, right before the revolution broke out.)
All of which is to say that everybody should just calm down, forget they ever read the Iranian Constitution (which cites the Koranic command to terrorism and dedicates the country to global jihad), and give the mullahs and their revolutionary goons a chance. A chance to reach an agreement in the nuclear negotiations, by the deadline, please. After all, Iran “says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.” Yes, Iranian negotiators have been stonewalling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for years on a commitment to come clean about its past nuclear activities with possible military applications.
This time, though, Iran promises it’s dealing in good faith. After all, it’s so much “more mature and modern” now that the rest of the world should really just forget about how it built its nuclear-weapons facilities in secret for years, buried them deep underground, refused IAEA inspections, got caught with the blueprints for a nuclear warhead, tested warhead explosives devices, and built intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland by 2015.
Just sign the agreement, quickly, so Iran can get busy installing all those brand-new, better, faster centrifuges, spinning up ever-increasing amounts of enriched uranium, and putting the finishing touches on its heavy-water reactor at Arak (for a parallel plutonium route to the bomb).
Where on earth did The Economist get this sunshine and lollipops vision of a “new Iran”?
It will come as no surprise to Iran watchers that the list of those The Economist acknowledges for “sharing their knowledge and insights” reads like a membership roster for the Iran lobby in America: National Iranian American Council stalwarts Afshin Molavi and Trita Parsi are there, and so are regime cheerleaders Suzanne Maloney, Vali Nasr and Karim Sadjadpour. A little more difficult to understand is a set of senior scholars from the Washington Institute of Near East Affairs who ought to know better, including Patrick Clawson, Mehdi Khalaji, Dennis Ross and Robert Satloff.
Doves of peace bursting from a shattered portrait of the Ayatollah Khomeini on The Economist magazine cover notwithstanding, the nuclear deal that appears to be on the table between the P5 + 1 and Iran is a bad one, dangerous to international stability, an existential threat to Israel, and a deadly threat to U.S. national security as well (especially if Iran is working on a miniaturized version of a nuclear warhead that could deliver an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, to the unprotected U.S. electric grid.)
Congress, new members and old alike, and the American people must oppose this deal and any deal that the Obama White House and John F. Kerry’s State Department propose to sign with Iran, unless it guarantees that the Iranian nuclear-weapons program and ICBM delivery system will be shut down permanently.
Clare M. Lopez is the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy.