What Are Iran’s Intentions?

Published on ZNet, by NoamChomsky, March 03, 2012.

… The sanctions against Iran may have the same effect as their predecessors against Iraq, which were condemned as “genocidal” by the respected U.N. diplomats who administered them before finally resigning in protest.

The Iraq sanctions devastated the population and strengthened Saddam Hussein, probably saving him from the fate of a rogues’ gallery of other tyrants supported by the U.S.-U.K.—tyrants who prospered virtually to the day when various internal revolts overthrew them.

There is little credible discussion of just what constitutes the Iranian threat, though we do have an authoritative answer, provided by U.S. military and intelligence. Their presentations to Congress make it clear that Iran doesn’t pose a military threat.   

Iran has very limited capacity to deploy force, and its strategic doctrine is defensive, designed to deter invasion long enough for diplomacy to take effect. If Iran is developing nuclear weapons (which is still undetermined), that would be part of its deterrent strategy.

The understanding of serious Israeli and U.S. analysts is expressed clearly by 30-year CIA veteran Bruce Riedel, who said in January, “If I was an Iranian national security planner, I would want nuclear weapons” as a deterrent.

An additional charge the West levels against Iran is that it is seeking to expand its influence in neighboring countries attacked and occupied by the U.S. and Britain, and is supporting resistance to the U.S.-backed Israeli aggression in Lebanon and illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. Like its deterrence of possible violence by Western countries, Iran’s actions are said to be intolerable threats to “global order.”

Global opinion agrees with Maoz. Support is overwhelming for a WMDFZ in the Middle East; this zone would include Iran, Israel and preferably the other two nuclear powers that have refused to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: India and Pakistan, who, along with Israel, developed their programs with U.S. aid.

Support for this policy at the NPT Review Conference in May 2010 was so strong that Washington was forced to agree formally, but with conditions: The zone could not take effect until a comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and its Arab neighbors was in place; Israel’s nuclear weapons programs must be exempted from international inspection; and no country (meaning the U.S.) must be obliged to provide information about “Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.”

The 2010 conference called for a session in May 2012 to move toward establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East.

With all the furor about Iran, however, there is scant attention to that option, which would be the most constructive way of dealing with the nuclear threats in the region: for the “international community,” the threat that Iran might gain nuclear capability; for most of the world, the threat posed by the only state in the region with nuclear weapons and a long record of aggression, and its superpower patron.

One can find no mention at all of the fact that the U.S. and Britain have a unique responsibility to dedicate their efforts to this goal. In seeking to provide a thin legal cover for their invasion of Iraq, they invoked U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), which they claimed Iraq was violating by developing WMD.

We may ignore the claim, but not the fact that the resolution explicitly commits signers to establishing a WMDFZ in the Middle East. (full text).

(My comment: it seems the rainmakers want a crash in this region … Iran … Syria … today a key to destabilize the rest of the world and then definitely impose their rules).


Building a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East, UNIDIR/2004/24;

The role of civil society in promoting a WMDFZ in the Middle East, on UNIDIR.org, by Chen Kane, disarmament forum, 2011;

WMD-Free Middle East Proposal at a Glance, Research provided by Alfred Nurja;

2012 Middle East WMDFZ: The 1995 Resolution of the NPT proposed the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East …

weapons of mass destruction WMD on en.wikipedia;

A Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East: Shaping the Contours of Discussion toward 2012, by Emily B. Landau, July 6, 2010;

Reflection on the Middle East WMDFZ, by Andreas Persbo, Aug 04, 2011.

Introducing the Concept of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone, on SAGE journals, by Dan Plesch, International Relations September 2008.

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