Inconvenient truths


We need to recognise certain realities even as we heave a sigh of relief at the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six most powerful nations.

IN wars there are no victories but varying degrees of defeats. For this reason all peace loving people everywhere will heave a sigh of relief at the interim nuclear deal last Sunday in Geneva between Iran and the world’s six most powerful nations.

Under this deal Iran will halt its medium enriched uranium (MEU) programme, stop expanding nuclear sites and agree to daily visits by the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In return, Iran’s right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is recognised.

If this deal stops the United States from succumbing to Israeli pressure to undertake military action against Iran, then everyone who abhors violence will have cause to celebrate.

How wonderful that even in the Middle East bitter conflicts can be resolved with dialogue and compromise and without waging war!

The ravings and rantings of the manic leadership of Israel that “the most dangerous regime in the world (Iran) took a significant step towards obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapon” should be ignored.

Some truths – inconvenient though they may be to Israel and the United States – must be noted.

> Iran’s conduct: Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel is not. Iran does not possess any nuclear bomb. Israel does and is secretive about it.

There is absolutely no proof that Iran is weaponising its nuclear programme. The CIA, FBI and the IAEA have confirmed this fact.

Iran has openly stated that it seeks to enrich uranium for nuclear medicine and electrical power. Under the Non Proliferation Treaty it has an “inalienable right” to do so. Its conduct is no different from what Brazil, Argentina, Japan, and other countries do under IAEA supervision.

Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa (religious edict) in 2005 that the production, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons is un-Islamic.

As early as 2003-2005 Iran had sought accommodation with the West by limiting Iran’s number of centrifuges to 3,000 and suspending its nuclear programme for nearly two years. Had the West then responded, last Sunday’s agreement would have been reached in 2005!

It must also be remembered that Iran has never attacked or occupied a nation throughout its history. Israel illegally occupies large swaths of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon which Iran opposes as do many other nations and individuals, some within Israel itself.

Iran supports the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League that supports a two-state solution and recognition of Israel.

Despite all the American and Israeli propaganda about Iran’s intolerant theocratic regime, Iran permits religious and cultural pluralism.

There are 25,000 Jews in Iran and their rights are respected. I have myself visited Armenian and Zoroastrian places of worship in Teheran. The Iranian Constitution in Article 64 reserves seats in the Iranian legislature for Zoroastrians, Jews, Armenian, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians.

> Israel: For 65 years Israel has brutalised, dehumanised and demo-nised the Palestinians.

Its atrocities are akin to the holocaust in Nazi Germany though not on the same scale.

For 65 years it has resorted to annexation of Arab lands, expulsion of the indigenous people, murder of those who refuse to leave, illegal settlements, use of banned weapons, ethnic cleansing and mass murders in refugee camps like at Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

In violation of international law, Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran with missile strikes if Iran continues to enrich uranium, even for peaceful purposes.

It is grossly irrational, dishonest and condescending for it to manufacture nuclear weapons surreptitiously but threaten Iran for wanting to have nuclear energy.

> The United States: President Obama had given Iran an ultimatum to suspend higher uranium enrichment, close down the Fordow enrichment facility and surrender its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20% purity. Legally speaking, the Unied States demand has no basis in international law.

On a broader level it must be stated that Israel takes US diplomatic, military and financial support for granted. Though a tiny nation it has forced the mighty United States to move in “lock step” with it for 65 years.

A nuclear deal with Iran and a just peace with the Arabs will do the United States much good. It is time for the US government to safeguard its own interests first rather than succumb always to a blackmailing ungrateful ally.

In sum, those who oppose war and regard nuclear weapons as a shameful abuse of science should welcome diplomacy between Iran and the major powers and condemn Israel for its hysteria and fear mongering.

Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Related story:

Nuke agreement just the beginning

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