Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's Up To Iran

The other day, during the annual Easter get together, my brother-in-law, who drops by this blog occasionally, asked me if I ever write anything that isn't "left" leaning. I suspect my opinion on the Iran crisis will satisfy the call for philosophical fairness. If we reach a situation where all diplomatic avenues are exhausted and Iran still persists, I think we reach a stage where the military option is justified.

In the end, Iran has the power to avoid conflict by simply adhering to the IAEA demands, as well as those of the international community. Iran can choose whether or not it wishes to engage the world, or isolate itself into a dangerous pariah. It is important to remember that any discussion of military options is done so within the realization that there is a choice. Iran has essentially lied to the international community, their nuclear program is not entirely peaceful and much of their program remains beyond the grasp of the regulators. Therefore, this crisis is self-inflicted and the sneaky approach suggests that suspicion is warranted.

I have heard many arguments that use the relative inaction with regards to Pakistan and North Korea to show a bias against Iran. I would suggest the international community failed in allowing further proliferation in unstable regions, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this time we can get it right. If Iran's program is really peaceful, then the demands from the IAEA are relatively benign. If Iran's program involves weaponization, then it is imperative that the world looks at who holds the key to the switch.

In my view, the Iranian President is largely irrational and increasingly provocative. The tone is threatening, aggressive and defiant. The real power base in Iran are the hard line clerics, who openly speak of martyrdom and extremism. When religion, in this case intolerant religion, and politics meet it is a dangerous circumstance. I feel the same way about the American crackpots like Robertson and Falwell, their "crusader' mentality is a threat to peace. It boils down to the notion of tolerance, of which the Iranian government has no concept.

On most occasions, I side with the Palestinians in their conflict with the Israelis. However, my support for a equal and free Palestine doesn't equate to a belief that Israel shouldn't exist, nor does it support terrorism against innocent Israelis. It is reasonable to see the logic in the Israeli's position that Iran must never acquire nuclear weapons, as long as the present situation persists. Iranian support of terrorism is well documented and largely unapologetic. How can Israel allow a country, that regularly speaks of its annihilation, the means to accomplish its goal? It is counter-intuitive to not expect some reaction to a clear threat.

The views of the world are clear. All nations have expressed an uneasy with a nuclear Iran. Defying the world community represents a conscious decision on the part of Iran. If we want to avoid a conflict, then it's up to Iran and I don't think we should forget this fact as move forward. This crisis isn't the dreaded pre-emptive doctrine, nor is it unilateral. The real story is this is a crisis of Iran's making and they hold the cards to avoid an escalation. If Iran continues to resist, in a sense they provide the answers to the question of purpose and legitimize the military option.

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