By Mike Whitney Counterpunch 01/13/06

Iran must defend itself if it is attacked by the United States or Israel.

Defending one’s country against unprovoked aggression is sanctioned under
international law and is a requirement of true leadership. We would expect
no different if either the United States or Israel was attacked.

The Sharon and Bush administrations’ have done an admirable job of poisoning
public opinion against Iran; interpreting President Ahmadinejad’s comments
as a potential danger to Israel’s welfare. But such statements, however
offensive, are commonplace in the Middle East and cannot be construed as a
credible threat.

In fact, Iran has not demonstrated any territorial ambitions nor is it
involved in the occupation of any foreign country as is true of both the
United States and Israel.

Media-Hype; beating the war drums, again

The media has assumed its traditional role of fanning the flames for war by
providing ample space for the spurious allegations of administration
officials, right-wing pundits, and disgruntled Iranian exiles, while
carefully omitting the relevant facts in Iran’s defense.
As always, the New York Times has spearheaded the propaganda war with an
article by Richard Bernstein and Steven Weisman which lays out the sketchy
case against Iran. In the first paragraph the Bernstein-Weisman combo
suggest that Iran has restarted “research that could give it technology to
create nuclear weapons.”

Nuclear weapons?

Perhaps, the NY Times knows something that the IAEA inspectors don’t? If so,
they should step forward and reveal the facts. More likely, however, they
are simply following in the tradition of mentor Judith Miller whose
scurrilous front-pages articles misled the nation to war with Iraq.

There is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.


Not even George Bush would make that claim.

There’s also no evidence that Iran has the centrifuges necessary to enrich
uranium to weapons-grade material. These are the two issues which should be
given greatest consideration in determining whether or not Iran poses a real
danger to its neighbors, and yet, these are precisely the facts that are
absent from the nearly 2,500 articles written on the topic in the last few
days .

IAEA chief Mohammed Elbaradei has repeatedly stated that his team of
inspectors, who’ve had the opportunity to “go anywhere and see anything”,
has found nothing to corroborate the assertions of the US or Israel.

On the other hand, we know that the U.S. has developed a new regime of
low-yield “usable” nuclear weapons to destroy underground bunkers. We also
know that the militarists in the Pentagon have threatened to use nuclear
weapons in a “first strike” preemptive attack, and that the main players in
the Defense Dept. unanimously believe that nuclear weapons should be used as
part of America’s strategy for global security.
Iran claims that developing nuclear weapons runs counter to their religious
beliefs, while the Bush administration (as per the Nuclear Posture Review)
believes that nuclear weapons are an integral part of the war on terror.
Rumsfeld has even shaken up the Pentagon to further surround himself with
like-minded people who support this basic thesis.

Perhaps, our fear of Iran is misplaced?

Presently, the administration is trying to bring Iran before the UN Security
Council for violations that date back more than 2 years. Since then, there
have been no violations and Iran has willingly complied with strict
enforcement of its treaty obligations under the NPT (Nuclear Proliferation
Treaty) as well as other “confidence-building” measures which it freely
accepted as a sign of good-will.

In truth, Iran is entitled to enrich uranium under the terms of the NPT and
has agreed to do so in a manner that is consistent with the strict rules of
the IAEA. Iran will not, however, give up its “inalienable right” to convert
uranium for peaceful purposes, such as making fuel for use in nuclear power

No other nation except Iran has been asked to forgo its rights under the
NPT. The Bush administration expects the UN to annul parts of the treaty
simply to accommodate its unfounded suspicions. But, why should Iran agree
to be treated like an underling just to satisfy Bush? After all, Iran
initially signed the NPT as a way of reducing nuclear weapons while Israel,
the U.S., and other nations were busy building a new generation of nukes.

Besides, the conversion process takes place in front of IAEA inspectors and
cameras that are set up to film the entire procedure. The IAEA is required
to report any violations to the UN Security Council for punitive action. The
watchdog agency was very successful in analyzing the true state of Iraq’s
“alleged” nuclear program. There’s no need to suspect that they won’t
succeed here as well. (Israel, Pakistan and India all avoided this regimen
and developed nuclear weapons secretly)

The Last Straw

Britain’s Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who played such a critical role in
disseminating the lies that preceded the Iraq war, has been equally
disingenuous regarding Iran.

“For two and a half years, we’ve been working with Iran and the rest of the
international community to bring Iran into compliance with its very clear
obligations not to do anything that leads to suspicions they are developing
a nuclear weapons capability.”

Straw knows, of course, that Iran has not violated its treaty obligations
for over two years and has been in full compliance since then. His statement
only confirms what reasonable people already know; Washington wants another

The Bush administration knows that there’s no hope of passing a Security
Council resolution for sanctions against Iran. Neither Russia nor China
would agree to penalties nor is there any proof of wrongdoing. The case will
simply be used to increase public suspicion and fear while Israel-Washington
put the final touches on their battle plans.

It is worth noting, however, that Iran will be attacked without a shred of
evidence that they have nuclear weapons, a nuclear weapons program, or even
a long-range plan for hostilities against the US or Israel. In other words,
they are completely innocent.

Now that the administration has abandoned the internationally recognized
benchmark of an “imminent threat”, it has also disposed of any other
reasonable claim to justify unprovoked aggression. Iran will be attacked
without pretext and without congressional or UN authorization invoking the
executive authority to prosecute the war on terror by “all necessary and
appropriate means”.

The determination to attack Iran goes back more than a decade to now famous
policy documents (PNAC) which support the idea of integrating Iranian
resources into the global system while eliminating potential adversaries of
Israel in the region. This first phase is intended to defang the regime and
leave it vulnerable to future invasion or regime change.

The forthcoming attack will probably unfold as surgical strikes by Israel on
perhaps as many as 12 facilities and weapons sites. Both Israel and the US
have signaled to Iran that retaliation will escalate quickly into nuclear
war. In fact, the Pentagon hawks may desire such a conflict to deter future
adversaries in Latin America and Asia.

If Iran does respond with force, there’s no telling how things will play
out. The markets could nosedive, the dollar could fall precipitously, and
vital oil shipments could be indefinitely disrupted. (Read the business page
and see how jittery many analysts are) If the conflagration goes nuclear,
then we can expect that China, Russia and Venezuela will take firm steps to
demonstrate their disapproval. Oil shipments from Venezuela may be cut off
while China stages a destructive sell-off of its $769 billion in

Then, of course, there’s the likelihood that the attacks will draw the Iraqi
Shiites into an alliance with the Sunni-backed resistance making occupation
of Iraq even more tenuous. Or, perhaps the Mullahs will deploy
state-sponsored jihadiis across the globe targeting American energy
facilities and commercial interests. In any event, there could be hefty
price to pay for Washington’s recklessness.

Whatever the cost, the attack will be carried out sometime on or before
March 2006 when Iran plans to open its new oil bourse. The new exchange
which directly challenges the continued dominance of the greenback in the
oil trade (the largest commodity traded in the world) poses an “existential
threat” to the well-being of western financial institutions and elites.

Beyond the media subterfuge of “nuclear weapons” and “non-compliance”, the
empire is marching resolutely to war; voluntarily risking nuclear holocaust
to preserve the system of privilege and concentrated wealth.