Let’s be blind to Iran’s ambitions

Raad-500 short-range ballistic missile at a ceremony on February 9, 2020. IRGC

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani recently “expressed his opposition to a bill approved by parliament the previous day to suspend U.N. inspections and boost uranium enrichment, saying it would be ‘harmful’ to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions.” Not that Rouhani disagrees with the substance of the matter – that is, the achievement of their nuclear goals. After all, it was the same “moderateRouhani that in September 2005 said in a speech to colleagues: “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the [nuclear conversion] facility in Isfahan.” And added: “By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work there.” At the time, he was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Back in September 2019, Reuters informed the public that “samples taken by the U.N. nuclear watchdog at what Israel’s prime minister called a ‘secret atomic warehouse’ in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say.” While at the time the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was investigating the particles’ origin and asked Iran to explain the traces, Iran didn’t do so, according to the diplomats.

The news agency was satisfied with the brief Iranian explanation or response to the incident: “Iran says its nuclear ambitions have always been peaceful.”

And so satisfied it was, that it even described Benyamin Netanyahu – “who has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking Israel’s destruction” – as a “hawk”, meaning those who “point to Teheran’s past to argue that it can never be trusted.” Words, repeated Iranian antisemitic and genocidal remarks become just mere accusations by those to whom those threats are directed. Facts, context, background, the evidence must be dismissed.

But reality doesn’t agree.

Let’s get back to the future. Or the present – that is what we can afford. On the 23rd day of the eleventh month of the Year of the Pandemic, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held talks with his French and British counterparts in Berlin. According to the Deutsche Welle, they met “ahead of an expected change of policy towards Iran when US President-elect Joe Biden is sworn as president in January.”

In the first volume of his work about the Second World War (The Gathering Storm), Winston Churchill wrote that still in the fall of 1933, “the plain pacifism of the Labour and Liberal Parties was not affected even by the grave event of the German withdrawal from the League of Nations. Both continued in the name of Peace to urge British disarmament, and anyone who differed was called a ‘warmonger’ and a ‘scaremonger’.” And he went on to point out that from 1927 onwards, several German pilots had been trained by the Soviets for military purposes, in clear violation of the Versailles Agreements.”

Anyone that points to the fact that there’s something troubling about Iran’s nuclear program is a “hawk”, a “warmonger” nowadays. If history, if the pattern of behavior, are worthless, then we would be little more than short-memory mammals, condemned to repeat over and over again the same mistakes, to forget the favorable findings. Well, of course, that is an exaggeration: we are being asked to have a selective memory, to dismiss certain pieces of history, of facts. All in the name of a “greater good.”

Let’s be blind to the fact that since the sanctions relief, Iran’s involvement in Iraq has been even more open. Or let’s pretend that since the sanctions relief Iran has not actively intervened (directly, with its Revolutionary Guard; and “indirectly” through its proxy, the terrorist group Hezbollah) in the Syrian war. Or that it funds the Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Let’s forget about its role in Yemen, shall we? Let’s do this, for the sake of peace. Let’s forget History. Let’s replace it with emotions, with suits and handshaking and photo-ops and smiles and more and more summits in nice hotels and salons. Let’s replace reality with a mise-en-scène. That’s what we are being instructed to do.

Let’s pretend that the fanatical Iranian Revolutionary Guard does not have a space program. That is, that it is not developing the technology that ultimately serves to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles – with the disguise as a legitimate program, as Sune Engel Rasmussen explained, following a path similar to that of North Korea’s.

Oh, there’s so much we must pretend, that one or two more pretenses won’t harm us: let’s pretend that Iran has no expansionist ambitions, or that after the arms embargo lift – yes, let’s forget that there’s even such a lift – Iran’s initial purchases might be… “solid-fuel rocket motors, guidance system”, according to Dave DesRoches, an associate professor and senior military fellow at the National Defense University in Washington. It could be argued, Iran is not in a good financial situation currently, but if there were a re-agreement, to call it some way, then economic sanctions might be eased…

In short, let’s be dumb to be wiser.

Churchill explained earlier in the above-mentioned book, that “the recreation of the German air power was long and carefully prepared in secret. As early as 1923 Seeckt had decided that the future of the German Air Force must be a part of the German war-machine. For the time being he was content to build inside the ‘airforceless army’ a well-articulated Air Force skeleton which could not be discerned, or at any rate was not discerned in its early years, from without. Airpower is the most difficult of all forms of military force to measure, or even to express in precise terms. To extent of which the factories and training-grounds of civil aviation have acquired a military value and significance at any given moment cannot easily be judged and still less exactly defined.”

Let’s be dumb, the. Let’s forget history lessons. Let’s follow our hearts, our pure emotions, and wishful thinking … Skepticism, facts, and reason are to be replaced by blind belief, by the whim of the moment of whatever suits the narrative, and by obedient consent.

In a speech back in the early 1930s, the great English leader said: “We are in the presence of an attempt to establish a kind of tyranny of opinion, and if its reign could be perpetuated the effect might be profoundly injurious to the stability and security of this country.” And it was not only for England but for Europe.

We seem to be in the presence of something very similar. And it’s certainly not only Israel the country whose stability and security might be profoundly affected.

About the Author
The author is a media analyst and the Associate Director of ReVista de Medio Oriente, the Spanish Department of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).
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