First 100 Days: Obama, Iran and Richard Nixon

By Bernd Debusmann
January 22, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own -

Here is a piece of advice for Barack Obama for dealing with Iran, one of the countries that will loom large in his presidency. Forget the way five of your predecessors dealt with the place. Take your cue from Richard Nixon and his 1972 breakthrough with China.

Just as Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, realized that a quarter of a century of isolating and weakening China had not served America’s interests, so Obama should acknowledge that 30 years of U.S. policy since the 1979 Iranian revolution has failed and that what is needed is a grand bargain, a shift as fundamental as the one Nixon achieved with China.

Those suggestions come from Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, a husband-and-wife team of independent experts who worked on Middle East policy on the National Security Council during George W. Bush’s first term in the White House.

A grand bargain would involve putting all the differences between the two countries on the table at the same time and resolve them as a package.

The list of differences is long. At the top of it is Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. suspects is geared to make nuclear weapons. (Iran denies this). Then there is Iranian support for Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, two groups classified as “terrorist” by the United States. Under the Bush administration, Washington threatened military strikes, talked of regime change and imposed economic sanctions.

How likely is it that Obama will make a dramatic Nixon-in-China overture? Not very. For one, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is no Kissinger. And while Obama ran on a platform of change in the presidential election campaign, the man tipped to take charge of dealings with Iran, Dennis Ross, is an old-established Clinton-era Middle East negotiator with a widespread reputation in the area as a man with a pronounced pro-Israeli bias.

Fears about the Iranian nuclear program are rooted not so much in the belief  that Iran, once it had the bomb, would use it against Israel — a suicidal move, given Israel’s nuclear arsenal and second-strike capability — but that it will kick off a nuclear arms race. Or that Iranian nuclear weapons would fall into the hands of Hamas or Hezbollah.

In the view of Trita Parsi, an Iran scholar and author of “Treacherous Alliance, the Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the U.S.”, this prospect is remote. “Israel has signaled that it would retaliate against any nuclear attack by hitting Iran — regardless of who attacked Israel – … if any of Iran’s proxies attacked Israel with a nuclear warhead, Israel would destroy Iran.”

Parsi believes, as do other Iran watchers, that Iran does not actually need — and says it doesn’t want — to build a nuclear bomb. Having the know-how to make a nuclear warhead is enough to act as a deterrent, shift the balance of power and whet the nuclear appetites of Arab states fearful of Iranian encroachment.

NUCLEAR RACE

Their interest in acquiring nuclear capabilities was highlighted by a nuclear cooperation agreement signed on the last working day of the Bush administration by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al Nahayan. The deal, similar to a U.S. agreement with India, has to be approved by Congress. If it is, can Saudi Arabia be far behind. Or Egypt?

And the question often asked about the Iranian program — why does a country rich in oil and gas need nuclear energy? — can be asked of these countries, too. Unlike Iran, the UAE will not enrich its own uranium and have its program monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Still, mastering civilian nuclear know-how can be a first step to getting a bomb.

Being against nuclear non-proliferation is like being against motherhood but there are those who view the long-running debate over Iran’s nuclear program with a dash of skepticism. Take Immanuel Wallerstein, a senior researcher at Yale University who has written extensively about nuclear proliferation.

“Why should we consider it to be catastrophic if tomorrow Iran has nuclear weapons?” he said in an interview. “Today, there are nine countries known to possess nuclear weapons — the U.S., Britain, Russia, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. What would change if Iran became the tenth? Whom would they bomb?”

Why would the fear of mutual destruction that kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from going to war against each other not work equally well in the Middle East?

On Obama’s first working day, the White House reissued his campaign pledge of “tough and direct diplomacy without preconditions” — a break from the Bush administration’s insistence that there could be no talks unless Iran first suspended its uranium enrichment program.

But according to a brief policy outline on the White House website, Washington will push the same carrot-and-stick package Iran has rejected for the past four years. Old wine in new bottles?

You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters.com. For previous columns, click here.

112 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

if u ask me i ll say lets wait and see what new washington will bring .

And i also believe that if Isreal continues like this its waterloo is not far like great NAPOLEON met his watereloo

THANK YOU ….

Posted by malik malik | Report as abusive

I would like to see cooperation and good feelings between us and Iran.
The problem is Iran moved against us first and they continue to call for the destruction of the US and Israel. I am concerned that too much good will from us will be seen as weakness by Iran and result in Iran thinking they can act out their threats.

Posted by Craig Coal | Report as abusive

Craig: you are leaving out an important chunk of history, as many Americans tend to do in connection with Iran. Iran did not move against the U.S. first. The CIA overthrow an elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, in 1953 and then installed the Shah. In other words, Iranians measure the crisis with the U.S. from 1953, Americans measure it from the Tehran embassy takeover in 1979. And which Iranian leader is calling for the destruction of the United States? If you ever have an opportunity to travel to Iran, you will be very surprised as to how pro-American the people are.

Posted by Mahmoud D. | Report as abusive

A great article Berd!

I think we in the US have to accept that Iranians aren’t mad at us because they hate freedom. The CIA killed Mossadegh (see http://web.payk.net/politics/cia-docs/pu blished/one-main/main.html), we installed the Shah (our choice, not theirs), and then the Shah was soon overthrown in an Islamic revolution. I’d be angry, too.

We never acknowledge our misdeeds when it comes to Iran. That has the tendency to make rational people think that we don’t respect them. How do we think this looks to the average person on the street in Tehran? Maybe we ought to adjust our rhetoric for a rational international audience with a memory instead of for a domestic audience that has largely fogotten a lot of recent history.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Sorry! I meant to write “Bernd” not “Berd!”

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

I would like to answer a few question presented in this article.

“And the question often asked about the Iranian program — why does a country rich in oil and gas need nuclear energy?”

They want this in order to acquire the knowledge necessary to create a nuclear explosive device. I find it odd that people do not pay more attention to world affairs. Look at how we and the rest of the world treat N. Korea. No one would even think of invading China. Iran has a huge amount of wealth in their natural resource, oil. You had a radical super power threatening them with an Iraq style invasion. What responsible government would not seek the knowledge to protect it borders, it people from invasion?

“Why would the fear of mutual destruction that kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from going to war against each other not work equally well in the Middle East?”
The attack would not come from huge missiles rising up from Iran soil. It would be snuck into the US across its vast unprotected boarders and detonated. They would not take credit. That is why Israel states that regardless of from where the attack comes from their response will be to launch on Iran. The US will not have that luxury. We are held to a higher standard…at least we were prior to the Bush administration.
If we are to worry about Iran we should be terrified of N. Korea who already owns a Nuke. And, we should be eyeing Brazil and Venezuela. Brazil claims to have enriching facilities that are better than the US facilities. Venezuela is looking at expanding their military and want nuclear naval ships and subs. You need to answer for yourself why we are so worried about Iran when we have nuclear expansion occuring next door? Gee, I wonder if it’s the oil. If oil was worthless, would Iran or any other country in that region be drawing our attention? Big Oil does not like the idea of nukes raining down on their profits. They do not care how much blood is spilled so long as their fields do not get irradiated.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

Do I get the “Best Comment” slot? C’mon, Bernd. You know how fond I am of your work, but you should have mentioned the Mossadegh thing yourself. Putting my post in as “Best Comment” would balance it out.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Winchester73: Thanks! But I’m not the person who is picking the “Best Comment.” I just write this stuff…

BD

Posted by BDebusmann | Report as abusive

I like this article. i am from the Miccle East so, this is great thing.

Posted by Caroline | Report as abusive

I find it interesting that so many assume that because a government wants to destroy us and Israel it means that the whole country is mad at us or hate us. You will find that the Iranian people for the most part love us and would like to have closer ties with us. By the way if it wouldn’t cost them their lives many of them would have huge banners of Bush. The Iranians that I’ve met are wonderful people. It is Typical of many countries that the government, and the news media, does not represent the views of the people. I think we could get along very well the Iranians but I don’t think we can trust their government any more than the Iranian people can.
It is my opinion that the nuclear weapons that they are making are as much to control their people as to threaten other countries.

Posted by Craig Coal | Report as abusive

Iran is not a nuclear threat to anyone. But with its nuclear power, she will be an economic power in the
region.

Selling cheap electricity to surrounding countries plus due to abundance of nuclear electricity it will also be able to expand its development in any area you can think off.

This means Iran will be 100% independent of the west,
an old wish every Iranian has in their mind for the past 100 years. Problem is west and her proxy bully Israel does not like it and trying their best to destroy it by lies and misinformation.

Posted by Tagh | Report as abusive

The world has said no to nuclear proliferation. The veto powers agreed to it. The UN passed laws and created bodies to prevent it.

If a nation is not already a nuclear power, then they have no right to demand it. If they begin a nuclear program, then it must be completely scrutinised every day. If the nation can not guarantee the safety of a nuclear program, then they do not have the right to possess one.

Iran has publicly called for Israel’s destruction. It finances terrorism. It supports repressive religious rule over its population.

If Iran gets too close to a nuclear bomb, then it will suffer complete conventional destruction. Nuclear weapons are deadly serious, and the West will be deadly serious when they deal with the issue. If war on the news chills you to the bone, you ain’t seen anything yet.

If people think this is a double standard? Congratulations. You have just figured out how the world works. Tell your friends.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

Bush said if any country got nuclear weapons he would not let them keep them.
But he found out Pakistan got nuclear weapons and even gave them to North Korea and he did nothing. Bush has an alligator mouth and woodpecker behind.
He thought he needed Pakistan to fight in Afghanistan, why not spend the money and put the runways Afghanistan and forget about Pakistan, he has given Pakistan billions of dollars for what to protect Bin Laden.

Posted by C. K. Justus | Report as abusive

This article is great. All this frothing at the mouth of Iran wanting to destroy Israel is sideshow garbage. We cannot forget, that Israel time and time again, called for strikes against Iran, not to mention, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons? Why is that accpetable. Did they not demonstrate this past Christmas that they will not hesitate to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including innocent civilian women and children?
When was the last time Iran attacked the United States? Do we forget what happened in 1953 when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossadegh?

Posted by Sherif | Report as abusive

It’s a great to have someone brought this into the new American president Mr. Barrack H. Obama’s fresh attention. This sensitive issue which people from almost the entire globe can not walk away from the umdesirable consequences of the conflicts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Defintely, Iran and Syria are no exception. We strongly recommend the UN to plan a Middle East Oylampic among these people where their performance will decide their destiny.
May God bless them all.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

Nations calling hemselves Islamic Republics have constitutional right to reject equal rights to non muslims, worse deny freedom to muslims. Iran has kept its people under pressure and in fear since 199 revolution. Sepah is not police, not judiciary, it’s a religious police answerable to only clergy, worse police are answerable to sepah. Non muslims are persecured (whole of Ramadan one can not dink water or eat in public, one has to go home or hide while drinking eating. A friend travelled to Iran and was almost beaten by locals in north doing this; Bahais are refused visa on religious grounds. They harbor perennial hatred for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists and Sikhs. They encourage terrorists outside Iran and suppress Kurdish inside. In this backdrop clinon and obama will have very little to get anything in return from Iran. Israel is hardly an Iranian problem and it’s a pathological lie; they’ll find something else to continue their fundamentalism. Freedom of speech should be restored, mullahs should stay in mosques and leave governance to civilians. Until then Carrots given to Iran will be turned into weapons for sure.

Mr. Debusmann fails to recognize an important distinction between Iran and other countries. The leadership is irrational and unpredictable (like North Korea). That is why countries in the region are so very worried about a nuclear armed Iran (not just Israel, but many Arab states). For example, certain members of the government, most notably President Ahmadinejad, believe in the coming of the Twelfth Imam – the hidden Imam – and they welcome an Armaggedon because it will hasten the return of the hidden Imam. People like Mr. Debusmann sometimes have difficulty accepting the possibility that ideas which seem ridiculous to us in the West are in fact taken seriously by government leaders in Iran. Unlike what Mr. Debusmann suggests, a nuclear armed Iran would be an extremely dangerous country. To think otherwise is to be as naive as Neville Chamberlin in Munich.

Posted by Dan from Toronto | Report as abusive

lets not forget china was a starving nation then and sanctions hurt them and rewrds excited them. On the contrary, sitting on huge oil wells, Iran is having a gala time with large amounts of petro dollars. No carrots are needed here- their demands are totally unacceptable for USA.

So you, Mr. Debusmann, ask: “Why would the fear of mutual destruction that kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from going to war against each other not work equally well in the Middle East?” I’m glad you asked, because the answer makes it clear why Iran should NEVER be allowed to acquire nuclear capabilities.

And the answer is plain and it is simple: because we and the Soviets respected life, and struggled within that framework.

The enemies the Western world would face in a nuclear Iran and its proxies have shown that they wouldn’t hesitate for a moment about setting off a bomb if they could. They are being raised in an atmosphere of suicidal terrorists who wish death on everyone, even themselves. They say, “To kill you is gain, to die trying is even better.” Their desire to wipe Israel off the map isn’t just talk. Surely you understand this, don’t you?

Hamas just showed us how they despise even the lives of Palestinians as they had them literally slaughtered while every pot shot they took at Israel resulted in massive loss of civilian life. And the Palestinians can’t even figure that out, or worse yet, they believe they are martyrs for the cause and are happy to die.

It’s time to re-educate the whole region. Who’s in control of that? Can their appetite for death be satisfied in any way, and soon, so that we can all move on to the next chapter? How much death is it going to take? How many dead? Is there a number? I think that’s the question that might have to be asked.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

you are sensible man, Bernd.

Here is my view on Iran\’s Nukes. They are thinking out side of the box. Have you heard of the dirty bomb. All the yellow cake & the number of short range and long rang missiles would render the region as hot as hell. They are already beyond the point of no return, and US should wake up to the reality.

Posted by parsi | Report as abusive

President Obama is obviously quite intelligent. He also seems like a genuinely good guy. BUT it is quite obvious since the beginning that he is not very experienced, and has not been thinking about international affairs or economic matters. He is going to rely heavily on his advisers – but unfortunately his advisers are all establishment types, all from the system. He should have included people like Peter Schiff, Ron Paul, George Soros, etc. in his economic team.
And yes, Hilary Clinton is no Kissinger. Infact, the Obama team is quite boring. Don’t expect any big breakthrough or anything out-of-the-box, or anything bold and drastic – contrary to his words that bold action is needed now.. Obama will be slow and cautious (mainly because he is inexperienced), and there won’t be any big changes.

Posted by ron_paulite | Report as abusive

I feel Obama would understand that now the need of the hour is no war. The United States has bled enough with the years long war with Iraq. the aftermath has been seen on the economic downturn. I believe he would definitely take the consultative approach rather than aggressive approach towards Iran.

This refers to teh comment of Ron_paulite. Is it not contradictory that you say President Obhama is new and experienced and hence will not change much and also that his experienced advisors come with too much expereince and hence baggage and would not change. Then how and when do u bring a change. My belief is that Obhama is shrude and he will ensure that the old hands deliver the change which he will demand.

Posted by Shashi | Report as abusive

Great article. Like most other Iranians, I am hoping for a shift in the US policy that may pave the way for improvement of civil liberties and economic welfare of the people in Iran. The current regime and its oppressive policies have only been sustained due to the isolation created by policies of previous US administrations. There is also the ever increasing negative voice of the Zionist who’s interest is to continue to rage war and continue to receive monetary aid. They portray Iranians as fanatical theorists wanting to kill every peace loving human being while they themselves kill innocent women and children with phosphorus bombs. Disregarding the government run flag burning rallies, Iranians have no ill feelings towards the people in the US, Europe or Israel for that matter. We just want to be treated fairly; not have our democratically elected governments toppled, our riches stolen, our passenger planes shot out of the sky, wars imposed upon us, etc. Nuclear Iran is not and will not be a threat to Israel as the propaganda machine wants the general population to believe. The actions of the Israeli government is the biggest threat to Israel. All normal people dislike genocide and war crimes! 30 years of failure have proven that sanctions and isolation bear no results. Now they want to attack the country and start a war!

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

Look at Iran’s history. Iran never invaded another country. Iran has deep desire to protect the disadvantaged people. Iran Never exploited another nation (contrary to Britain, US–which are the archetypical exploiters—and some European countries). Iran Stands for Justice. It is not phony like western governments; it says the facts the way they are. Iran is not a liar, contrary to western and US government. Iran is no longer a lackey (like it was during the Shah’s regime) of the western or US government–contrary to lackey nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Iran is not against Jewish people; Iran is against Zionism of any kind. Stop thinking of exploiting, and sabotaging Iran, then you will have a symbiotic relationship with Iran. The formula is simple if western/US governments say goodbye to their greed and exploitative behavior. All humans on the face of earth except thieves and exploiters want Peace. All humans on the face of earth know the face of exploiters. So it is time for western/US people to question: is our government an exploiter government or an honest and peace loving government?

Posted by Parviz Simorghi | Report as abusive

Dan from Toronto: While Israeli politicians and their friends in AIPAC consistently portray as irrational the Iranian government(which is complex and opaque and NOT run by Ahmedinejad), intelligence and military leaders do not share that view. Here’s a quote from Efraim Halevy, the former Mossad boss: “I don’t think they are irrational. I think they are very rational. To label them irrational is escaping from reality.”

Posted by Yitzhak S. | Report as abusive

Best Comment? Really? Who picks this crap? That’s a fair question, I think. I’m not saying you have to pick my comment, but the one you picked just wasn’t very insightful. It didn’t really add anything. Bernd wrote a good article, but then the debate really peters out. You guys at Reuters need to get better at this “Great Debate” thing or else just call it “Thought Provoking Articles.”

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Trita Parsi’s book clearly states that Israel sees a rapprochement between Iran and the US as contrary to its interests, so AIPAC won’t let Obama approach Iran.

Iran needs nuclear power in order to continue exporting oil rather than use it at home. That’s why Iran’s nuclear program started under the Shah, with the support and encouragement of the United States.

Iran’s nuclear program is also under full IAEA safeguards, with absolutely no evidence of any “weapons” program. Iran’s enrichment technology is civilian in nature and is the same as that developed in several other countries, including Brazil and Argentina.

Posted by Hass | Report as abusive

Thanks for the article. world view will change in the future under President Obama or later. The media covers a bit of history or an event in a certain area and generalises it as a happening in the whole country and unfortunately ordinary people who read articles believe them.

i was and am a British national and did live in Iran for about 13 years during the 1981 to 89 war with Iraq as well and after. I had two children, worked and lived a very normal life in Tehran and have a similar life in the UK for the last 12 years, the only difference about there and here is that THE PEOPLE OF ALL CULTURES, RELIGIONS AND TRADITIONS IN IRAN ARE VERY PROUD OF THEIR HERITAGE AS IRANIANS, THEY ARE WARMHEARTED AND HELPFUL AND VERY FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ORIENTATED and will fight for their rights. Most people who complain about or when they are in Iran think that the freedoms offered by the Western countries (various views)is all anyone requires but after they have lived with that superficial freedom for a few months they miss their homeland,their people and a lot more which the western countries cannot offer. I enjoyed my life there and am enjoying it here as well. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT WHEREVER YOU ARE.

Posted by monica | Report as abusive

It would be most helpful to explain in depth to the public the historic roots of the Middle Eastern conflict going back some 60 to 70 years. By taking little to no interest or even denying the rights of people to their rightful property, land, homeland and civic rights western governments will unfortunately go on fuelling the bloody struggle. Also, maybe for ideological or other reasons , it is extremely rare to see in our media any such discussions and studies on this historic background taking place. As the saying goes: People without knowledge of the past are bound to repeat again and again their mistakes . By the way the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has started with his book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” a forceful discussion on this issue.

Posted by p.v. liechtenstein | Report as abusive

Why do we waste so much time on couples-therapy between Palestine and Israel? Getting the relationship right with Iran is exponentially more important. If we want stability in the region then we should hunker down with Iran. The special relationship with Israel can remain in place.

Posted by Alexander | Report as abusive

As long as “US puppy dog Israel” threaten Irans, Palestinians and Arab Nations; Unites States cannot achieve his goal to prevent Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and that for sure. No doubt about it. Arabs are not afraid of Iran. I think we should stop this crapy story forever. It is the west and Israel who created such kind of fears just to push their own agendas. In my opinion if US has the right to have the nukes, the every single country on the face of the earth does have the same right. The question is when US and the West will stop to see the facts with double standard policies. Look at the recent conflict of Hamas and Israel. Do you think Israel dare to attack Hamas with accessive force and kill thousand of innocent men, women and children if Hamas possessed 30% of the weaponary system what Israel possess now. The answer is no. Hamas defeated powerful Israeli army with his third class rockets and forced Israel to withdraw unilaterally. Since my undestanding of Nukes, I have seen only the US who used it. Its the time that US respect evry single Nation on the face of earth and should adopt a policy of “Live and let live, and respect and have respect.”
By the way please do not expect too much from Obama. Just give him a little time. He is new in the market, inexperienced and surrounded by same old faces who are jack of all trades and master of none.

If asked to name the single worst mistake of Nixon, I would point not at Watergate, but at his “historic” visit to the Communist China. With China remaining a scaled up copy of N.Korea, and Taiwan sitting in SC of UN, America would be way better off today.
Firstly, there wouldn’t be such a hollowing of American manufacturing. Just look at the shelves of WalMart or Target – an overwhelming majority of goods is marked “Made in China”. If China remained a closed society, at least half of that would be sourced locally. Admittedly another half still would be made in cheap locales like Mexico or India, but it’s the scale of cheap land and dirt-cheap labor in China that made such a shift of manufacturing capacities from West to 3rd world possible. And if we remove Chinese demand from global commodity markets, especially oil, the commodities would be priced much cheaper, what would be good for USA – the net importer. Please don’t even try to point at American exports to China – they’re minuscule on the grand scale of things, just look at the overall trade balance.
Secondly, it was as great a geopolitical miscalculation as it possibly could be. Instead of getting a junior partner in the global game against USSR, we’ve got another major opponent pursuing its own interests on a global scale and clearly intending to take the place of the chief antagonist of America left vacant by USSR destruction. OK, Russia may disagree with that, but that would result in a very unstable multi-polar world. The old bipolar world order was much more predictable and easier to maintain.
And if asked about the worst mistake of Reagan, I’d point at American involvement in Afghanistan. It was planned as another way to stick it up to the Soviets. What we’ve got as a result is Taleban and al-Qaeda. Yes, Bin Laden is the creation of CIA that turned against its creators.
If Obama decides to negotiate with Iran, it would be a mistake on the same scale. We are much better off with Iran isolated politically and sanctioned economically, with crumbling economy and falling oil output and revenues, under a constant threat of a strike by either USA or Israel. We don’t need Iran a recognized legitimate member of the nuclear club, an economic powerhouse thanks to renewed Western investments in its oil fields, another center of geopolitics, and claiming a permanent seat in SC UN. Instead we should keep the pressure, both politically and economically, with a military option still on the table. Because of the economic difficulties the regime of Ayatollahs is less stable today than if has ever been. When it finally crumbles, we must be ready to offer the people of Iran an alternative, be it a republic led by today’s Iranian dissidents, or – what the hell – another Shah. In any event we should not offer the current regime a shot in the arm.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Today, there are nine countries known to possess nuclear weapons — the U.S., Britain, Russia, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea. What would change if Iran became the tenth? Whom would they bomb?”

It’s not a question of bombing anybody, it actually serves a bigger purpose if one has a nuke in his kitty. Look what Pakistan is doing to India. The epicentre of terrorism in Islamabad and they constantly hurt India with their terrorist attacks and there can never be a question of war as both the countries are nuke powers. So as long as the mullahs are in Pakistan, they will bleed India and get away scot free, because they have the nukes.

It’s in the hands of the citizens of the world to pray to the supreme to provide every powerful country with sane leaders who look beyond the confines of their border and consider the whole earth as their home and all the inhabitants (two legged and multi legged) as their kith and kin.

Posted by Trey | Report as abusive

This article is entertaining. Why not allow Iran to have the capacity of make nuclear weapons? Well it’s not the fact that if they ever used them against Israel or the US, becuase they do understand that this type of action is doom for them. A total and utter obliteration of much of the country.

The first commandment for any Nation State is not it’s people, the wellness of it’s people or even the health of the country. No … not that thing you are thinking.

It’s the first order or commandment for a nation state to survive and grow. What is being suggested by the more liberal left is too extreme too consider. Though it may be time for more open communications. All that isolation and national stress during the Bush years may have made the Irannian public / Islamic government more open and receptive to outside norms.

This indeed could be Obama’s chance if he should want to take it. If he does succeed it will not be purely becuase of his gravitas and ability to speak well. I definitely think that will be part of the equation but a large part of it will be because of what has happened previously. All that isolation, majorly reduced trade and restrictions on international loans. Those are what has hurt Iran, as it would hurt any nation, and will eventually bring about change.

Some of the commentary on here is so so so one sided and only seen from the restrictive view of the liberal paradigm that commentary is flat. Open your minds and look at the issue from both sides. I’m not a total Bush supporter but do see some of the positive effects from his administration. Forget about the massive project he started (over a billion dollars now) in AIDS medication for Africa?

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

“It’s not a question of bombing anybody, it actually serves a bigger purpose if one has a nuke in his kitty. Look what Pakistan is doing to India.”
If you think this is irresponsible then look at what Israel is doing to the unarmed civilians. Only way to avoid civilian casualty is to have the civilians have the means to defend themselves.

I think Obama’s Mideast policy will fail simply because of Hillary Clinton. She is nothing but Bush Jr. in a female appearance when it comes to Israel.

Posted by Kamal | Report as abusive

Persians have a bloody history. They were the most barbarian Empire in the Ancient times, They got some civilisation when they embraced Islam and learned and exchanged some science and theories with Arabs. But even with this they made their own Islamic crown and rituals (shiaa)which historically is against most of the Arab Countries (Sunni).
If this country got a nuclear weapon, its leaders will use it but for sure they will not use it against Israel. Not because they like it but because their main enemy is the Muslim Sunni Countries.
Now the point is, if US and the EU allowed Iran to own a nuclear arm their relations with oil Arab countries will be demolished unless they agree to arm Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the same mass destruction weapon.
And In this case, I can see that for the security of Israel and the protection of Western States interest in the MiddleEast, Iran must be attacked as soon as possible by a coalition Forces like the one launched and organised by George herbert walker Bush in the first gulf war.
Because To deal with moderate Arab regimes and to create an Abou Mazen’s Palestinian state is far better than launching a nuclear race in the region (Crowded with many extremist Militias from Qaeda to Hamas to Hizbollah) which will lead sooner or later to a cmplete loss for the West and the destruction of Israel.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

I think, The United States ,especially America’s president( Obama) should consider U.S.A.former policies about Iran and choose the most rational policy. The past shows that U. S.A.didn’t success in the it’s foreign policy with regard to iran and it seems it has wasted america’s energies. For example, The bush government imposed different sanctions against iran and couldn’t reach none of the it’s aims.It seems the situation has changed after the war against Iraq in the 2003 and America has weakened. Now,iran is the most important country in the region( and the gulf of Persian) and plays a powerfull role in the maintenance of international peace and security. The Iran government and it’s people would like have good relations with all of the nations but don’t permit others to intervene in their affairs. In this situation, it’s better the Obama government remove America former sanctions against iran and set up direct and without precondition negotiation.I do hope relations goes well.

Posted by alimahmoudi | Report as abusive

Iran never called for the destruction of U.S. or Israel. Ahmedinejad has just questioned the legitimacy of of israel’s existence in the palestinian soil and their slaughter of the palestinians based on the what the U.S. and israel perceive as Self-defence.

Posted by Kaif | Report as abusive

What seems to escape everyone’s attention is not so much Iran having nuclear ability. Iran signed the NPT which meant that it locked itself into supervised development of anything nuclear. Pakistan and Israel and the likes did not sign this treaty which meant they could do as the like. Iran entered an agreement that it later breeched and the West fears that this may set a precedent to other nations that signed the NPT and yet develop nuclear capability anyway.
The U.S. Middle-East policy is an inaccurate term in my opinion as there are several problems that are often clustered into one package. The Israel Palestinian issue has nothing to do with an Iran policy. The Arab policy is also separate from the Iranian issue as Iran cannot be dealt the same cards as the other nations in the region. It is a NON-ARAB country, the only one in the region, Middle-East, to be over 100 years old. All the Arab states in the region are creations of and after WW1 including Iraq. So the Iran issue is not the same as the Arab or Israeli issue. Iran may be in the region but its politics is as different from its neighbors as Japanese politics is to Falkland Island politics. Although these countries share the region their disputes arise from which countries are backed by the West. In actual fact Iran has no issue with Israel. Iran’s issue is with the West unlike its neighbors. This issue arises from total abuse of Iran and Iran’s unique position as a major source of fuel.
I think it is unwise to compare Iran with any other country in the region. Its like comparing the UK with Spain or Chile. Lets not forget this is a country that shares its language with ancient German, 3000 years old, its first emperor mentioned in the Torah and by Xenephon. There is alot there to set it apart from the regional upstarts that gallantly call themselves nations.

Dan from Toronto, I agree. The present Ayatollah was a full-time, regular president of Iran and the famous Khomeini remained the Ayatollah during most of 8 yrs period of Iran Iraq war that ended in 1989. On every Friday during national prayers in national capital, that was telecast live on only TV channel, this present Ayatollah (say, pope to Shias) repeated mantra of “death to amrica” and “death to saddam”. This was how national prayers were begun and ended literally every Friday for 8 yrs. Though they call themselves religious heads they talked like venomous politicians and terrorists instigating mostly good natured people. A mass brainwash was the routine for years and years. Any opposition was dealt with a Taliban hand (a new phrase!). Thanks to theses 2 ayatollahs unknown number of Iranians were murdered in Iran. Horrified Iranians did everything to leave their homeland to live free. USA was at the very top on their list. High school Kids were thrown in to the war field in thousands to be massacred by Iraqis and a title of ‘martyr’ was promptly presented to the killed.
Even today there is no freedom of speech. Both muslims and minorities live in fear. The latter leave the country when they can. Sounds familiar? This is the easiest way to convert nonmuslims into Islam. Once converted you are not to question ayatollah. Nazis or Shias, who is worse- history will judge. A nonshia (muslim) should convert to shiasm for matrimony to a shia person.

Get a sense of ground reality. The government is not full of Dalai Lamas or Gandhis they are ruthless oppressors. Giving any concessions will be used as a propaganda (victory) tool by militant and fundamentalists.

Sorry,no quick fixes here and don’t rush into ones, they are bound to fail.

Mr. Kaif, presumably you are not an Iranian. Please ask an Iranian first, if he/she says you are right, you are looking at a liar. Loud and clear slogans of “death to- Amrica, saddam and Israel” are a must recitals in all Friday national prayers on TV throughout the 80s.

Mr.Alimahmoudi, response to your quote ‘the most important country in the region (and the gulf of Persian) and plays a powerfull role in the maintenance of international peace and security’ unquote: Since when the region turned so poor that all arabs are looking for Iranian nan? Its the Saudis who announced aid to Palestine first last week. Iran is significant by carving its own niche in the world of terrorism in the area. I don’t think I would recommend Iran a nobel peace prize for its efforts.

This is in reply to Anonymous “If asked to name the single worst mistake of Nixon, I would point not at Watergate, but at his “historic” visit to the Communist China. With China remaining a scaled up copy of N.Korea, and Taiwan sitting in SC of UN, America would be way better off today.
Firstly, there wouldn’t be such a hollowing of American manufacturing. Just look at the shelves of WalMart or Target – an overwhelming majority of goods is marked “Made in China”.”

This is very presumptuous. Typical American (or Western) arrogance in its way of looking at the East.

So China would never open up if it had not been Nixon???

The death of Mao wouldn’t lead to a new leader who could have opened up China even if Nixon didn’t visit China???

While Mao was alive, there were already many in the Chinese Communist Party, including Deng Xiaoping, who disagreed with his policies, the 5 year Great Leap, the Cultural Revolution, etc. Wouldn’t these group of progressives open up China after the death of Mao???

Must everything good that happened in the East be the result of some act of kindness by the West? White Man’s burden again?

What arrogance!

Posted by ron_paulite | Report as abusive

China is a country of a billion or more people. Iran is 70 million. Their histories and societies are vastly different. To compare China and Iran in this way is plain silly. And yes, our opening to China has been a pandora’s box. “Opening” to Iran will mean giving in to their agenda. They will admit no compromise, and if they do, it will be strategic, and temporary.

Posted by Edwin | Report as abusive

This is in reply to Edwin: “And yes, our opening to China has been a pandora’s box.”

Our ‘opening’ of China???

So China would never have ‘opened’ if not for us???

Or China could never have ‘opened’ or would never want to ‘opened’ if not for us???

So the USA decides who can ‘open’ and join the ‘free world’???

What arrogance!

Posted by ron_paulite | Report as abusive

Persians have a bloody history. They were the most barbarian Empire in the Ancient times, They got some civilisation when they embraced Islam and learned and exchanged some science and theories with Arabs. But even with this they made their own Islamic crown and rituals (shiaa)which historically is against most of the Arab Countries (Sunni).
If this country got a nuclear weapon, its leaders will use it but for sure they will not use it against Israel. Not because they like it but because their main enemy is the Muslim Sunni Countries.
Now the point is, if US and the EU allowed Iran to own a nuclear arm their relations with oil Arab countries will be demolished unless they agree to arm Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the same mass destruction weapon.
And In this case, I can see that for the security of Israel and the protection of Western States interest in the MiddleEast, Iran must be attacked as soon as possible by a coalition Forces like the one launched and organised by George herbert walker Bush in the first gulf war.
Because To deal with moderate Arab regimes and to create an Abou Mazen’s Palestinian state is far better than launching a nuclear race in the region (Crowded with many extremist Militias from Qaeda to Hamas to Hizbollah) which will lead to a cmplete loss for the West and the destruction of Israel.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

Poppy, every religious entity has had a bloody history at some point. Pointing out one timeframe of one particular religion is hypocritical.

I’ve been called an extremist but what about just bringing our troops home and working on defense? Why don’t we spend our money and resources on a potential defense system to an Iran nuke?

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I agree with the author, Iran should be considered and taken in a different way, not by conventional means of isolating the country. President Nixon’s China policy can act as a guideline for new relationship/partnership. If the purpose is to bring peace in the world, then we need rectify our policies.
I hope we may see Washington’s major policy shift towards conventional enemies. Best of luck President Obama! and best of luck Iran!

Posted by Yasar Saleem | Report as abusive

ANSWER to MICHAEL
Excuse me but it seems that you are a typical selfish American similar to those who prefered to elect Clinton than giving Bush Senior a second time in the office. If We had another 4 years of Bush – Baker Foreign Policy, I am sure that we were now liing in a new era, in a new world and in a new Middle East away from conflicts and extremism and dictatorships. When I look into history I find how blind the American voters were to not see how many tasks their coutry achieved during Bush and Reagan days!!!!! The fall of soviet Union, Berlin wall, The first War launched by a resolution made by UN, the first initiative for peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. AMERICA was looking GREAT, FAIR and TRUE LEADER.
Why don’t you pull your troops and work on Defence?
Because you can’t leave your free friends and your Brothers in God being killed by terrorists and extremists without defending them. You can’t after removing Saddam’s regime (It was a terrible mistake in Timing) to leave the arena in our region to monsters like Assad, Nasrallah, AhmadiNejad and Khamanei who are backed strongly by Moscow, Pekin and other totalitarian and disastrous regimes.
Because when Russians and Communists and Extremist Islamist put their hands on Oil and Energy Resources, your children one day will be cold and frozen like poor people in Eastern Europe who spent the first weeks of this year without Gas Just because Kiev didn’t pay money to Russia!!!!!
Wake up, It’s true that USA is isolated Geographically from Europe and Asia, But as G H W Bush said “You can’t reform a World by ignoring it”.
Most of Americans come from UK, France, Italy, Germany, Lebanon, Syria and many other countries. USA was made by God as global nation and it has a big role to fulfill. When you help the world to be free than no one will ask you to send your troops to any where.
I would like to live in a New World, in a Golden Age where no more troops and no more weapons every where. but to achieve this Goal You have to use power to remove dictator regimes because there is no other ways to deal wth them.
God creates humans to be free and to remain free, So He is the one and only who has right judge them. This is not the duty or the mission of Nasrallah or Ben Laden or Sharon or AhmediNejad or Putin!!!!

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

To poppy…
hi I didn’t want to reply your comments but it seems inevitable now. My dear u said “Persians have a bloody history. They were the most barbarian Empire in the Ancient times…”
may I say you see/read some news and in modern world US history, and even currently, is most bloody, remember how many people were died just in Japan in 1945, (http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldw arii/a/hiroshima.htm), how many people died in Vietnam, how many were massacred in Iraq, Afghanistan very recently. So saying Iran have bloody history is a shameful sentence for an American, a nation even currently involved in the killings in Iraq and Afghanistan (off course bloody). In your recent comment you say “God creates humans to be free and to remain free, So He is the one and only who has right judge them”. Is this liberty/freedom only for Americans or whites; is it not for other races? Has God created only Americans or whites to stay free, not others?
You want US to attack Iran to bring peace, what a great joke.
USA needs to rethink about extremist policies towards “enemies”. Bush policy, war on terror, failed completely in world it brought more insecurity in the world. More liberal Muslims are becoming extremist as they see videos/ live coverage of killings people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If President Obama want to bring a real change in US and in the world, please don’t listen such extremists, re-consider old policies that may bring peace in this world.
We are tired of news of bombings, killings, attacks etc. we need peace in this world, and not less than that.
Please do the needful to “change the world, you believe in”, by your actions, we have good hopes with you.
Best of luck.

Posted by Yasar Saleem | Report as abusive

I think that almost all the problems in Middle East originate in the same place, America.

It is the time for Americans to understand this and to pull American troops out from Middle East and to stop arming Israel, too. After a while it might be too late. American military power might get defeated there shortly. For Obama the best advice would be: stay home and pull your troops home. You have got enough problems at home.

Posted by - hv | Report as abusive

This is in reply to ron_paulite.
Do you think without the explicit OK from the West and especially the USA the UN seat would pass from Taiwan to Communist China?
Do you think the Chinese industrial development as we know it would be possible without Western technology transfer and investment? Do you think the Chinese manufacturing would survive without the Western and especially the American market as the dumping ground for the cheap [expletive] made in China?
Do you think everything above would be possible without Nixon’s reversal of American policy on China?
What ignorance!

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Poppy,
It is obvious that your knowledge of history on Middle East is only limited to a handful of Hollywood movies such as “300”. Supporting bias information is one think, but supporting imaginary or falsified history is another. It would be really appreciated if you would backup your knowledge of history with credible references for all to review.

Posted by Prove_it | Report as abusive

To Prove_It
My Dear, My words are not based on Holywood works at all. And the history you read is the falsified one because many parts of the real history kept hidden from people for a reason or another. I assume for example that you have never heard of the British Researcher and Historian LAWRENCE AUSTIN WADDELL. This great man spoke about his origin about the origin of Britons, Scots and AngloSaxons, but very few people in the world admit that Britannia was the New Phoenicia. And for your information I am from the MiddleEast and I know very well its history since the first human being until now. And I think if you do some reasearch on the Persian Empire and The Assyrians and all those bloody dynasties you will find that my words are 100 percent correct.
Those people keep working for such an empire and they terrorised me personally enough last year and so they did with many civilians in our country.

To YASAR
I am not saying that Americans didn’t commit mistakes but most of the attacks you named were an unblanced reaction to an attack carried out on Americans. And My call for an Attack on Iran should be praised by every free Iranian who is suffering from this dictator and extremist Regime. Those leaders you can’t talk to because the dates of their minds expired already with horrible beliefs they force people to agree with. Go and Speak your mind in Tehran. Can you???!! you will disappear in few seconds and so is the case in Russia Syria and China!!!!
I ma not defending a race or a color, I am defending Freedom and Knowledge against Slavery and Ignorance. I am supporting the Good against the Bad. and the Light against the Darkness.
And for your information I am not an American, because my Citizenship is a free good human being created by God to live on earth and to make my creator to b proud of me. How? By spreding Freedom and Knowledge, spreading Science and Discoveries, helping humanity to advance towards the best. And to achieve all of those duties I have to defeat every dark regime and ideology which destroy the civilisation and shut the mouthes and cut the tongues and force people to live one lifestyle.
God created colors to entertain us and to let our eyes enjoy the nature around us. Imagine the entire world in Black and white or it’s all green or Red!!! So plz no need to hide your eyes fom the truth, set people free and let every human being have some control on his life.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

It would probably be good for us to do what we can diplomatically with Iran.

But you seem to think Nixon visited China simply to reap the benefits establishing a relationship between the US and the PRC.

Nixon was getting nowhere trying to talk to Brezhnev. He wanted to get a USA/USSR arms agreement. But when the whole world watched as Nixon and Mao had tea together Leonid was scared to death. The thought of the USSR’s bigest enemies becoming allies was frightening. Leonid Brezhnev was quick to come to the bargaining table and begin the process that would become the SALT and START treaties.

Nixon was a real mixed bag – he screwed up royally with watergate but was very effective with Super-K at his side.

Posted by john | Report as abusive

As to the remarks made by ‘poppy’, “They were the most barbarian Empire in the Ancient times”. Indeed! I guess you have not read much history have you? I guess the ruins and knowledge left behind by the Achmenid, Parthian and Sassanid Persians mean nothing to you. If it wasn’t for Khosru (Anushirwan), the barbaric west would not have known about the game called “Chess”. It was not Persians who created the “Shiat” sect. It was created by Arabs who revered Imam Ali. Sir, read your history first, before you get up on the soap box and expose yourself.

To SRK
It seems you are trying to invent History for them. About CHESS The real origin of the Game is INDIAN.
Achmenid, Parthian and Sassanid Persians left KNOWLEDGE!! What a nice Joke It’s like you are saying AhmediNejad won a Nobel Peace Prize!
Go and read carefully in each period and every dynasty of those people and specially the last one u named SASSANID
The Sassanid dynasty was the first dynasty native to the Pars province since the Achaemenids; thus they saw themselves as the successors of Darius and Cyrus. They pursued an aggressive policy.
That’s all what the history remembers of the people you are defending. WAR LORDS. WARS and DICTATORSHIP are in their blood!!!
About SHIAA If you read carefully what I wrote, I didn’t say they invented it or created it. But I said they made their own rituals in it like (Wilayat AlFakih and other horrible ideas) They added their own powder to it to make it suitable for the Empire they r trying to rebuild!!!!
You are tying to find something that they added to the benefit of the humanity. But you simply couldn’t find any, so you brought to me a GAME – The CHESS (which is INDIAN).
What’s the Difference SRK between a world which knows the Chess and a world as you said have never heard of it!!!!????

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

This is reply to Anonyomous

<>

Again what arrogance!

Do you think the capitalists of the West could resist the profits to be made from China should it decide to open up if Nixon hadn’t ‘invited’ it?

Posted by ron_paulite | Report as abusive

Poppy thinks Iran is the boogey man and that it is an intrinsic part of its nature… Ahmadinejad thinks in similar terms of Bush and his posse of neo-cons.
I wish the Ahmadinejads and the Poppy-think-alikes of this world will soon follow Bush to the dustbin of history.
We need another Khatami in Iran (or the same will do) and with Obama as president there will be dialogue and lasting peace.

Posted by cheporbik | Report as abusive

With Saddam gone, we can see Iran in a whole new favorable light. For this breakthrough, thanks to President Bush.

But Iraq was just Part A. Part B cab be President Obama establishing relations with Iran. (This could not have been contemplated without Saddam gone.)

Potential outcomes of relations with Iran: Iran’s renewed commitment to NPT, which will head off arms race in region (which race Iran itself does not want); US gets a major partner at the table to solve the Israel-Palestine problem; finally, US has a new partner in GWOT. This relationship could bring sustainable stability to the Middle East.

(After that, redefine the relationship with Russia along similar lines, mutatis mutandis.)

Potential “Obama Doctrine”: US will support regional hegemons who promote regional stability, which is now yoked to US strategy to promote inter/national security/stability.

Nixon never left the building.

Posted by Fred | Report as abusive

Dear All,
I am one of Iranian and we do not want any war in any place in the world and Mr. popy you do not know anything about Persian, they try to give peace to the world you can go back and read about Cyrus the Great, and read Saadi proverb at the United Nation gate. We are all one.

Posted by A | Report as abusive

Dear poppy,
It seems like you have no knowledge of persians what so ever. Iranians were the first if not only people who held a ceremony for people who lost thier life on September 11.

Posted by Kamal | Report as abusive

Mr A,
You are talking about the best man who led Persians in history. It happened once and there is always an exception. BUT
He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. And that’s what your leaders doing now. RIGHT??!!! So go and do something, I doubt that you are in Iran now because if you were there, you wouldn’t be able to post your opinion!!!
And For you Information one of the shiaa staff that Iran Allamehs added as powder to rebuild their Empire is suggesting that the Qur’anic figure of Dhul-Qarnayn is Cyrus the Great. This theory was endorsed by Shiaa scholars Allameh Tabatabaei(in his Tafsir al-Mizan) and Makarem Shirazi.

Posted by To A | Report as abusive

Mr A,
You are talking about the best man who led Persians in history. It happened once and there is always an exception. BUT
He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. And that’s what your leaders doing now. RIGHT??!!! So go and do something, I doubt that you are in Iran now because if you were there, you wouldn’t be able to post your opinion!!!
And For you Information one of the shiaa staff that Iran Allamehs added as powder to rebuild their Empire is suggesting that the Qur’anic figure of Dhul-Qarnayn is Cyrus the Great. This theory was endorsed by Shiaa scholars Allameh Tabatabaei(in his Tafsir al-Mizan) and Makarem Shirazi.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

Dear Poppy,

It’s not “most barbarian” – its “most barbaric”. Persians did not “embrace Islam” and “exchanged some science and theories” means that they had science and theories to begin with, if it could be “exchanged”. You are obviously an uneducated simpleton trying to feel better about your own shortcomings by insulting a well documented culture and history, which at times has indeed been bloody like every other civilization. Try to work on your Grammar and formulation instead of spending time insulting Iranians. This is a waste of your time because Zionist run Hollywood has (and is) doing a much better job. The moderate cultured Arabs you speak of have been sitting back and working on the size of their bellies whilst their Arab brothers are getting slaughtered in Gaza. Then they pledge dirty money to so called rebuilt Gaza. How can you rebuild traumatized children and lost lives! Iran and Iranians do not want war or to export some sort of fanatical ideology. Even the words “Israel will be wiped off the pages of history” is widely misrepresented because what it intends to say that the state of Israel will not continue to exist; but it does not say that Iran is per say going to attack or nuke Israel. The biggest threat to Israel is the oppressive and devious nature of its government. We know that the majority of Israeli’s want peace- it’s excuses, shortcomings and self interest of their politicians which has stopped the achievement of this objective!

Years of foreign intervention, including this current Islamic theocracy, have left Iran in a terrible shape and its inhabitants oppressed. We just want to be left alone so we can rebuild our country and live in peace just like our neighbors in Turkey. You are quick on the trigger in passing judgment and call for military action, with absolute disregard to suffering and loss of life. Have your head examined then maybe get an education!

Olaag

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

Oh, now there is a BEST MAN who was an exception! You are making a fool of yourself with the garbage you post. You are mentally challenged!

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

To Olaag
Your words are full of hate and arrogance and very smiliar to the speech of the people you defend. For oyur Information I am dealing when typing my words with 5 jobs in the same time as I do speak Arabic, French, English, Italian and spanish. I for sure have no time to edit or reread what I write!!! And Who are you at the end to speak about my education. I am sure you barely speak Persian and English!!! I have 3 Masters Degrees in Archaelogy, IT and Multimedia in three diffeent languages and from 3 different countries. WHO ARE YOU Mr OLAAG!!!??? If you want to be left alone, Then stop intervening in Lebanon and Palestine. Go and Shave the beard of your NasrAllah!!!!!!

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

To Olaag
And Yes I forgot to ask you: who told you Mr The Educated Iranian that Barbaric is grammatically better than Barbarian!!!!???

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

Olaag
I see you were refering to THE MOST Barbaric the whole sentence. ok . u r right!

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

Bla bla bla, master this master that. It is you who is full of hate! Bombing the ayatollahs in iran only makes them stronger and helps them stay in power longer to give more aid to your problem in Lebanon. You must deal with hizbollah internally and in your own capacity just like we must do the same in Iran. We have always thought of the Lebanese people as our brothers irrespective of their religion. You draw a line from hizbollah to the regime in iran and then the whole nation including non Persians and non Muslims

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

Olaag and poppy (sorry, I don’t want to put you in the same league by any measure)
PERSIANS – ISLAM
Persians did not ’’embrace’’ Islam. They were all originally Zorastrians (with fire as a central religious theme), who were slaughtered by arabs, as is the typical case during Jihadi arab spread of Islam. Then a small number of jorastrians fled to western India and were allowed to immigrate and practice their religion by the then king. Kind of jewish exodus of Iranians if you will. They are called ‘Parsis’ after their language in India. These Indian Iranians are a relic of history. One Indian Iranian whose business house acquired a global fame is Tata. Jamshed ji (typical Iranian name) Tata started his business empire with steal industry. The point is none of the Iranians are aware of their ancestral cousins. Do you know why. Simple-a case of denial. They have to acknowledge the brutal crimes of jihadists (muslims spreading islam by murder). The present Iranians know them (their ancestors) as aathish (fire) parasthar(worshippers)

Past should teach the present for a better future.

The underlying problem here is that western economies are build on oil & gas for their energy. this is the real danger to our economies.

Middle eastern countries never have tried to establisch industrial economies, they fabricate for instance no cars, like china, japan, and india. Their economies are copletely reliant on supplying oil, nothing else, as far as I know. Now Oil and Gas are nearing their point of no return in production, which is allready known for decades under the term “peak oil”

After the oil crisis in the seventies, there were some efforts in “the west” to try to create alternative energy, but too little, in my opinion, and for now, too late.

Western countries most urgent goal should be the development of altenative energy supply, and being energy independent.

The remaining oil in middle eastern countries, should then being used by them to create compatetive economies to the west, the middle eastern “industrial revolution”so to speak.

This will also involve nuclear knowledge, and even atomic bombs, China, India, & Pakistan have already this kind of weapons.

Better is abandon this kind of weapons worldwide, but I realize that’s an utopia right now.

Posted by Gert | Report as abusive

It would be good if would the new administration would make an opening to Iran as Nixon did to China although I despair of it. Frankly, most of the conflict between the US and Iran can be laid at America’s doorstep. Starting with the American overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 whom we replaced with the autocrat Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the equivalent of overthrowing Mr. Obama and reinstalling GWB as king), the US has twizzled with Iran. Of course, this was back in the day when the US had the power and seemed to feel a need to insure that many countries needed a puppet dictator who would dance to the US’s tune (Is it actually a surprise to anybody that segments of the world actually harbor resentment towards the US for essentially hijacking their government?).

Iran’s real crime was kicking the US out when they had their revolution – it pissed us off. While the US rants about Hamas and Hezbollah, it conveniently forgets that it is also promoting, assisting, and probably arming groups seeking to overthrow the Iranian government. I would say that what is good for the goose is good for the gander except, of course, Hamas and Hezbollah aren’t interested in the US, they’re interested in Israel. The whole A bomb issue is pure red herring. The US doesn’t even have a credible case – even the CIA says that Iran stopped its nuclear weapon efforts a number of years ago. The real problem here is that the Iranians are doing something the US can’t control or easily spy on. The Iranians have consistently cooperated with us when we sought cooperation (as opposed to demanding) even after we shot down an Iran Air jetliner flying a published commercial route during the first Gulf war that resulted in the deaths of a good number of innocent Iranian civilians (bet you forgot about that one, didn’t ya?). I suspect that if the US offered rapprochement to Iran based on respecting Iranian sovereignty and national interests and without insisting that they accept our world view and agenda, friendly relations could easily be reestablished.

Oh. And Mr. Poppy? You are in serious need of getting a clue. Your knowledge of history is so piss poor you probably should not be allowed out in public unattended.

Posted by jeff | Report as abusive

Jeff or Olaag It’s funny when one person uses two nick names to defend his rubbish ideas. Better you name yourself with something sounds Iranian. But this is your level ,you always go under the belt to express your feeling because your mind seems located there and not in ur head!
Your last three lines, they show very well the location of your tongue!

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

The Jewish lobby won’t let Mr Obama do what Mr Nixon did with China.

Michael,

Bush: take the war to the enemy. If not, you will have to do it here.
After 5 yrs of liberation, they keep killing one another. You want to believe its because of US troops being there. No. You come out, then for sure, annihilation of one group by the other takes place. The end result is it will be quieter after that, just to make Iraqis live under another dictatorship.

If we all can make this work and live in a democracy, that model can be replicated elsewhere, if needed.Iran is preventing the peaceful democracy to settlr/contnue in Iraq. In the long run, Iran will have to do away with clergy in the administration, with a cvil Iraq as its neighbour, which the clergy refuses to do.

This “Great Debate” which started with a suitably great article has more or less been reduced to posts that have good points but have more ad hominem attacks (at least that’s what stands out). Somehow I think people tend more towards the ad hominem attacks when they are dealing with web personas rather than, well, hominems. There seems to be a lot of perspectives and knowledge that come out in these posts, but, ultimately people just wind up pissing eachother off and not really getting anywhere. It’s like this at the Economist, too. And CNN is, not surprisingly, even worse. It seems to me that knowledge and perspectives are going to waste. And I’ve been guilty of it myself as well.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Winchester73
You are right. I am sorry, but I had to defend myself because Olaag insulted me since his first comment!

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

Poppy,
Almost all of us have played a role in it at one time or another. There’s no point in blaming anyone. I know that I’ve done it too. It’s a systemic issue. I think that these “Comments” sections on web sites don’t bring out our better selves a lot of the time. But, since there are a lot of things of value that come out, I think that it might be possible to tweak the structure and/or format and create something a lot better with much less acrimony.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Great article… you have to have peanut size brain to believe that world will be destroyed or Israel will be
Wiped out if Iran get nukes… Israel has over 300 nukes and three subs loaded with nukes war heads. Iranians are not stupid they know if they attack Israel or USA they will also get destroyed… Look Pakistan and India if Pakistan did not have the nukes India would have marched in few years ago so it helped Pakistan to keep India off their borders… You think twice before you do any thing against country with nukes. Iran wants the same respect out of fear and Israel to be on leash so it won’t continue the Plalistains genocide….

Posted by speakamerica | Report as abusive

Poppy,

You say that I insulted you while you start your post with “Persians have a bloody history. They were the most barbarian Empire in the Ancient times”. Then you accuse me of posting under Jeff’s posting. I said what I had to say, and unlike you I am not an ignorant, uneducated, racist, cowered who categorizes everyone with the same brand like the nazi’s did. You can verify that the postings came from different IP addresses in different geographical locations with Reuters, if it makes you feel better- Mr. IT Masters degree!! The universities were you got your degrees should have their license revoked! Now crawl back under the rock you came from if you don’t have anything to preach instead of war, destruction and loss of innocent civilian life.
Olaag means donkey in Farsi, you retard! You deserve to be insulted!!!

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

Olaag!!!It’s the best name which describes you!!!
Donkeys are innocent creatures. In this case you are right, they should not be killed.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

The postings were signed off with you in mind, and in response to you:))))))))))))))))))))

Posted by Olaag | Report as abusive

This is reply to ron_paulite

Again what ignorance!

Ever heard that the White House can stop any sale involving American technology? Even if that technology is just a tiny bit of the package. Case in point – the sale of Israeli spy equipment to China scuttled because it had some US made components. And how many Western technologies are completely free of US tech, may I ask you?
And one more thing you probably never heard of. Any non-US bank can be shut out of American financial system (read – US$ operations) for dealings with clients Uncle Sam doesn’t approve of. What do you think, would’ve any bank ever financed any China-related business if there was the risk of running afoul Uncle Sam?
So, if the US kept treating PRC as a pariah state, how many Western investments would’ve found their way there? Especially during the Cold War when Europeans were much more attentive to the position of Washington than they’re now? My rough estimate is – zero.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

The US wants the oil and influence in the Middle East and there is nothing more we seek. The lives of the peoples in the Middle East and Iran in particular is secondary if that much. We backed Iraq to overthrow Iran during the bloody war between the two nations and a few years later whip up nationalism here and beat the drums of war and villainize all in the Middle East who won’t lie down and die for the whims of a former tin pot president here. Instead when you stand up for whatever you believe you are called terrorists and your religion is made out to be an extremist cult by many and then we expect you to capitulate for what? A pittance for your resources and still expect your own people to pay ten times the amount we do for the same product?
If peace is desired by all then it is time that we in the US come to grips with the realities of history, the Arabs and Persians set aside all our past aggressions and start anew. What has happened can never be undone, but we need not kill more innocent people in vain attempts at settling old scores that will only grow worse with time.
Bombs do not make peace, people make peace.

Posted by mram | Report as abusive

Poppy, if war is what you seek or violence is your lust hen simply move to a crime infested slum somewhere and walk outside and continue spouting your rhetoric there. I’m sure plenty of people there will bring a fight to you and will be more than happy to indulge you.
As for the rest of us I only assume we truly want peace and are tired of reading about death and carnage every day and many are tired of living it as well.
We could bomb Iran back to the stone age and then what? Do you honestly believe all other members of the Islamic faith will simply roll over and be happy with these kinds of policies? If anything we would make ten times the enemies we have now and we wouldn’t get one drop of oil in the process.
Even though I’m no holy roller nor a religious man of any type I will still thank God Almighty that you hold zero power in this world and probably never will.

Posted by mram | Report as abusive

Imagine a world without Israel !!!

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I hope those readers who dare to publish their dogmatic dark thoughts like POPPY, go to the libraries and read the history of a nation before preaching their NAZI views. Persians can not be judged through motion pictures like 300, or other crazy productions of some idiots who call themselves directors of HOLYWOOD. A man MUST think before talk.

Posted by Ehsan | Report as abusive

Anonymous January 25th, 2009 5:51 pm GMT

“So, if the US kept treating PRC as a pariah state, how many Western investments would’ve found their way there?”

A lot since it’s mainly the Taiwanese who did invest there in the beginning. Foxconn, the maker of DELLs and Apples computers among others have some 450,000 employees in China. All thanks to Taiwan, where the company is headquarted and started.

Besides other western countries regularly invest in or trade with countries hostile to the US. They don’t care. Not all countries did abide to the restricts the west had against the Comecon for example (the communist countries trade bloc). They can’t effectively block the resell of american tech and gods. Your allies Taiwan even have offices for selling computers in Iran even though it’s illegal to sell US software to Iran. And you know what the US don’t make (manufacture) many of the parts containing US tech anyways. Your economies are too intertwined for you to do anything about it anyway.

I don’t know why you dream back to the times of the cold war and sanctions against your opponents. It didn’t really work, and you where free to make and did make direct investments in Comecon countries then. You have never had that support from western countries your talking about either.

Posted by Petter | Report as abusive

“Why would the fear of mutual destruction that kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from going to war against each other not work equally well in the Middle East?”
What sort of moron could write that about a country that sponsors suicide bombers?

Posted by Colin | Report as abusive

This is reply to Anonymous

Again what arrogance.

” And how many Western technologies are completely free of US tech, may I ask you? ”

Do you know majority of components and precision parts of the US satellites and space shuttles are actually designed and made in Japan?

Do you think that the USA has a monopoly or hegemony on technologies? Yes, most of the fundamental scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century were by the USA — but the USA does not have absolute control over the technologies that arose from these breakthrough — due to the open nature of the US system and capitalism.

Yes, even up to this day, the US bans export for breeding edge technologies to China. But China does not need these breeding edge technologies to prosper.

Also, China does not need to purchase technologies directly from the USA.

And for your information, most of the space and military technologies in China come from Russia.

Have you been to China? I bet no.

“Any non-US bank can be shut out of American financial system (read – US$ operations) for dealings with clients Uncle Sam doesn’t approve of. ”

Yes, I am aware of this. If Nixon hadn’t invited China to join the world financial system, do you think that if China (after Mao) wanted to join, the US could refuse it?

Posted by ron_paulite | Report as abusive

to answer poppy. there is nothing more barbaric that some barbaric thought like pretending to have a brain and trying to play the historical proof card: Iranians are no more barbaric that both Israelis and long before Americans. The formers killed, Palestinian people, turned them into refugees in other countries and their own land and destroyed their livelihood, identity and history. the lattes did the same to native Americans long before! the Mid-east crises are a collective responsibility and that ONLY mature, responsible and well-informed individuals should talk about. Get over your racism and hatred please.

Posted by Answer To Poppy | Report as abusive

To Spooky
Thank you Spooky. I agree with you 100%. And I congratulate you for using your words in a more polite way than the one I used.

To the ones who attacked me and my comment:
I started my comments mentioning the bloody history of Persians, The problem as I can read now is that I am declared now as RACIST and NAZI. The problem is that most of you have paranoid thining and you will never know how to respect the Freedom of Speech. You say that every civilisation had bloody period in its history! But I can say that my ancestors had no bloody history. Phoenicians taught you how to speak (the AlPHABET), They were the first Explorers, the nicest traders and they were the Best Architects as they built Solomon’s Temple. They were the first who discovered Britain and USA as well. Cartage in Tunisia was the first New York.
And above all they were the first to worship one God without having prophets and messengers, and so Akhenaton who was the best Pharaoh in the Ancient Egypt took the Monotheism from his uncles (His mum was Phoenician).
The Falsified history right now mentions only the Canaanite Gods as Phoenician ones.
However your GREAT MAN CYRUS invaded ou land and so much of the Phoenician creative population migrated to Carthage and then to Britain, Americas and other colonies following the Persian conquest.
Now it’s time to win back our home. So
You Iranians, Tell your leaders to Stop destroying our land.
We have no problem with a Democratic Neighbour, they were our neighbours throughout history. Take your Hizbollah and your Revolutionary Guards out of our land. If you have problems with the West and Israel then deal with this from another place not from our country.
Give us peace and then receive from us what astounds the world. We will prove to you in the future, that we have far more than ZERO in the world score. We will play the biggest role in creating the NEW WORLD and the GOLDEN AGE, the era where your children and ours can live in peace and harmony.
But until then, He is a fool the one who think that talks with Tehran’s Regime will bring lasting peace to our region.

Posted by Poppy | Report as abusive

This is one of the more interesting analysis of the us/iran relationship. Nuclear technology is not a exclusive club. More and more countries are going to join because it works and because they can and because it guaranties there will be no attack on their soil. Ask US to get rid of hers and see if they would do it. I am not comparing us to Iran. US is a democracy. Iran is not. However if Iran gets the bomb, it is for self defense and not selfdestruction. Mutual deterence does work. Israel should focus its guns against europeans that for 2000 year have hurt the jews to make the world a better place. Palestinians did not have nothing to do with that.

Posted by james | Report as abusive

Spooky,
I wouldn’t say that I disagree with you completely. One problem, however, is that our ally India has also not honored the NPT. Obviously, they have gone much futher than Iran. The treaty is problematic in the way that it is applied. More consistency here would be difficult for the US, but it would help the situation.

Also, the term “terrorism” has no real empirical meaning. No one agrees on what it means. The US is especially unclear here. Until such a definition is arrived at, it is merely propaganda.

As to the repressiveness of the regime, we have allies that are just as repressive, so I suspect we could get over that if we wanted to.

Your statement about double standards being how the world works seems to assume that the current situation is working. Do you think that it is?

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Reply to Winchester73:

Comparing Iran with India is not correct. And it is not true what said about India not honouring NPT because India NEVER signed NPT. Same for Israel and Pakistan. So, there is no violation of treaty if one has not signed up for it.

Posted by Bristol | Report as abusive

Winchester73,
Israel, India and Pakistan have not ratified the NPT. Though they are under pressure from the UN, they are not formally bound by its rules or requirements.

These nations did not sign the treaty, because it would have hindered their ability to gain nuclear weapons, something they presumably saw as a matter of survival.

Pakistan and India balance one another out. They are unlikely to wipe each other off the map. Nor are they likely to take a shot at Europe.

But if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, there are two possibilities. The first is that Iran uses it, which would cause all kinds of grief. The second is Iran now posesses a deterrent, which then allows them to begin a conventional war with impunity.

Either will be very bad for the Gulf. This is why Iran is getting a lot of (arguably unfair) treatment.

As for terrorism, I think the basic definition is the use of stateless entities to commit warfare in breach of the Laws of War. As Iran is (allegedly) financing Hamas, Hizbulla and Iraq insurgencies, this could be interpreted as covert military operations against the West if true.

As for the system working? I suppose we will need to see how it eventually resolves. We are merely the observers, after all…

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

Spooky and Bristol,

I agree that I was wrong in comparing Iran with India since India did not sign the NPT.

Still, the definition you volunteer for “terrorism” is not generally accepted. If we call “covert military actions” terrorism that creates a problem because most countries have done that at one time or another. The problem with the lowest common denominator definition that tends to prevail, i.e. significant violence perpetrated upon a civilian population by an organized group for political ends, is also problematic because the US and Israel have both done that in the past.

Also, I think we need to give Iran a pass on their repressive treatment of their own people. We support other countries that do this. And it really isn’t any of our business.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

If Iran send a bomb to Isreal then Isreal will see it on their radas and demolish Iran before the bomb reaches. Iran wouldn’t have the rnge anyway

Posted by 11 year old | Report as abusive

Quote:
“Why would the fear of mutual destruction that kept the U.S. and the Soviet Union from going to war against each other not work equally well in the Middle East?”

How many suicide bombers do you see coming out of Russia?

Posted by builderbob | Report as abusive

First, America is not after Oil. When people use that term it lumps all of us in the same basket. The big oil companies, which by the way are international in nature, are after the oil and they have leverage with many countries governing bodies. I for one wish our government had some balls and would get off the OPEC oil nipple and eventually get off almost all oil. Besides if you really wanted to damage the governments of the Middle East just crash the oil prices. If the US started pumping this could be today given the current economic condition. And contrary to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush yes the US could Drill their way out of this issue. Our production has declined for the last 8 years. We have not been trying to get off “foreign” oil. In Fact we have been increasing our need for it. The big oil companies have been slowing down the well production. The big oil companies like Exxon and BP are making sure we need oil.

I am sure Iran wants a Nuke. As I have said before: Have you seen how the world treats a country with a deliverable Nuke? Without a Nuke, Israel would not have lasted the war with Egypt. Personally I think any government based on Religion, any religion, is the absolute worst form of government. It is the most unstable and the most likely to abuse its power. How any people could desire such a government is beyond me. A Nuke in the hands of religious fanatics is a very dangerous thing? But, it is also a Catch 22. Every country has a right to defend itself. Let’s face it. Since a year before Bush Jr. got into office it was known that Exxon, BP and Chevron wanted access to the oil fields in Syria, Iran and Iraq. If you wanted to keep your oil, you needed some way to deter those who would just plain take it from you. So, are we the bad guys, Invading countries on made up charges, setting up puppet governments, giving access to their natural resources to our benefactors? Are we to starve out a people with sanctions until we provoke them into war? How do we go to Iran and Syria and now offer the olive branch?

It is absurd to suggest that any people are more or less barbaric than another. As a People we are all barbaric. All you need to do it just look around. Most of it committed for greed and with ignorance. We were persuaded to walk into the debacle we call Iraq based on an administration’s fear mongering. Now they are gone and We the People have to deal with how we are going to clean up that mess in the middle of a global economic melt down.

The real question is will this administration be able to bridge the diplomacy while strengthening our own economic situation?

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

…Without a Nuke, Israel would not have lasted the war with Egypt…

- Posted by B.Free

___________________________________

Dear B.Free,

Do you recall Israel using nukes on Egypt in 1967? Or in 1973? IIRC, both time the only obstacle between Israeli tank columns and Cairo was UN, Egyptian forces pulverized or encircled or running for dear life.

But otherwise you are right. If we in the West didn’t pay for Arab oil as much as we do, the Arabs would become irrelevant for world politics and history, as they were irrelevant for centuries before the oil was discovered in Arabian penninsula. We need to get off the Arab oil syringe.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Again what arrogance.

Have you been to China? I bet no.

If Nixon hadn’t invited China to join the world financial system, do you think that if China (after Mao) wanted to join, the US could refuse it?
- Posted by ron_paulite
_____________________________________

Again what ignorance.

Yes, your bet is right. I’ve never been to China. But according to your logic all astronomers must be dismissed because they’ve never left Earth.
Have you heard about “One China policy”? PRC would never have diplomatic relations with anyone having those with ROC, and vice versa.
Without Nixon’s blunder there’d be no way for PRC to get into UN, let alone SC. As a veto wielding power, America was more then capable to thwart any moves in that direction. And without UN membership, guess how many Western states would’ve switched their embassies from Taipei to Beijing? It would be PRC who refused to open up to any country not explicitly recognizing them as the only China. Considering that USSR and, by association, other Warsaw Pact/Comecon members were not exactly warm to PRC since soon after Stalin’s death, the only European country Beijing would have had warm relations with would’ve been Albania. Add to that some 3rd world regimes, most of them quite odious, and there’d be not much of a world China would’ve opened up to.
And for “the US could refuse it?” you don’t have to look farther away than Cuba (too bad – I wish it became again American resort next door).
But too bad the history doesn’t recognize “what if”. Nixon did what he did, and it resulted in whatever happened next. Now it’s up to Obama to try and fix what’s broken with American industry, including, but not limited to, making it competitive against “China price”. And again, it’s up to Obama to deal with many cases where Chinese global interests are not exactly aligned with ours, to put it lightly.
I guess this sums it up.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Terrorism is a tricky issue. The key is legality.

Covert operations are not terrorism, if they comply with the laws of war.

Likewise, the death of civilians is not in itself a war crime. Israel’s actions will not constitute a war crime in the ICC, as the deaths occurred through “tactical necessity”. Though the deaths were horrifying, they were legal.

Terrorism occurs when an entity seeks a deliberate strike against civilians with no (legal) tactical value. A roadside bomb used to ambush a military convoy is not terrorism. A suicide bomb against civilians is terrorism.

Hamas earns a double whammy. Not only is it using indiscriminate rocket fire, but it is doing so from civilian areas. What happened in Gaza is the very reason why such warfare tactics are illegal.

So at the moment Iran is accused of financing Terrorism to the extent that civilians are being deliberately killed, and financing Insurgency to the extent that soldiers are being deliberately killed. Or so the US asserts.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

I am glad we agree on the important part. The US must get off the OPEC oil nipple. The US needs to “encourage” the auto industry to incorporate known technologies that have a very high potential of transforming the current transportation industry into one that is no longer tied to liquid fuel…true plug and go. How ever the auto industry continues to pick strategies that are know to be oil dependent like the hybrid models.

As for Israel and Egypt, no Israel didn’t need to use their battle field nuke, just threaten to use it and the Egyptian fled in chaos with the Israeli military beating them up pretty bad as they went. I thought that was pretty much common knowledge. It was the event that established they had a Nuke. I could be wrong…maybe you should check it out.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

dearest Bernd has the best re-commendation for dearest Barack that i’ve seen for middle-east situation so far and in the same fashion one possibility for Palestine-Israel is to improve up^on China’s “One country, two systems”

im from turkey and we are so close to middle east.. and i know this is a game and same scenario as iraq.. it is all about politics.. i m not afraid of nuclear energy or weapons. there was a war in gazze.. and more than 1500 peoole died. and israel didnt use nuclear something. what is difference. can you tell me?

Posted by Faruk | Report as abusive

Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power. To question its desire for nuclear power when it has gas and oil is asking them to burn their GDP into thin air. If they can use nuclear, solar and wind power to be able to increase oil sales and increase their GDP, why do we have a right to say no they can’t. When their oil reserves are gone they will return to a third world country if they do not manage their resources wisely. Today in America we are complaining because of higher corn prices because of conversion to ethanol fuels. We are trading our ability to sell corn overseas in exchange for producing domestic fuel resources. Does Iran have the right or any other country have the right to tell us we can not convert our corn to ethanol because it does not suit THEIR needs. Yet this is exactly what we are asking Iran to do. Let them have nuclear power and monitor it, negotiate over Hamas and Hezbollah, open the doors to travel and trade and let the beauty of the power of America change Iran. Iranian people already are far west leaning and if we would quit giving them excuses to hate us, we might see a different type of revolution in Iran.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the threats against Iran have nothing to do with terrorism, Israel or weapons of mass destruction. They are all part of a neocon plan to surround Russia and gain a first-strike advantage. Once the foreign policy of the US is rewritten, the empire of 800 foreign military bases will disappear and we will again be a prosperous nation. We must remember Washington and Eisenhower: No foreign entanglements and beware the military-industrial complex.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

How many Muslim and Christian countries exist? How many Jewish countries? How many countries do not even allow Jews? How many do not allow Muslim or Christians?

Come on now, all religions have a right to survive. The reason Jews need a country is obvious. But they do not disallow any religion.

Posted by reza santorini | Report as abusive

Spooky got the best comment by saying:
The world has said no to nuclear proliferation.
and the list is:
the U.S., Britain, Russia, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea.
Does anyone bother to mention that Israel got its nuclear
arsenal after the world said no to nuclear proliferation?

Mr. Debusmann asks why does a country rich in oil and gas need nuclear energy? Texas was once rich in oil. It
has 4 commercial nuclear reactors, and plans are in the works to build 4 more. There is even a nuclear reactor
in Mississippi. All these Middle Eastern countries will one day be as short on oil and gas as Texas is. Nuclear power was the best answer for Texas. It will be the best answer for them.

As long as warmonger Israel dictates America’s Middle East policy we will have to treat Iran as an enemy. It
is too bad. Iranians are good people.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Iran will have the bomb, get used to it. It is a matter of national pride. Iran is not going to make a deal, period. Iran has the technical expertise, the manufacturing capability, and the national will, Iran would leave the UN first before giving up the bomb, after all Israel has the bomb. That is that and there is nothing anybody is going to do about it, including Israel.