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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Iran responds to Obama with a clenched fist

This is what President Obama had to say about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Note that it includes a jab at Israel, which I have highlighted for you.
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against US troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build. [Note the implicit apology for the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953. But the Islamists also opposed that government. CiJ].

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
The dig at Israel is absurd. Israel may have nuclear weapons, but if it does, it has had them for more than 40 years and has never used them. It has never threatened to annihilate any of its neighbors. True democracies don't make wars - they defend against them. (Yes, the US in Iraq is a defensive war, notwithstanding Obama's claims to the contrary). A democracy cannot decide to sacrifice half its population to destroy another state. Contrary to Obama's assertion that all states are equal, they are not.

And the world is not going nuclear free. If you outlaw nuclear weapons, only outlaw nations (Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and many others who would like to get them) will have nuclear weapons.

Iran has responded to Obama's speech with - guess what - a clenched fist. In fact, they responded before Obama even spoke.
Prior to Obama's Cairo address, Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that his speech to the Muslim world would not be enough to repair relations.

Khamenei said that efforts by the new American administration to change the "ugly, detested and rough" face of the United States will not be earned solely by "words, speech and slogan."

He said the Muslim world is instead looking for practical changes to US policies.
Well, maybe if Obama helps them wipe out that cancer in the Middle East, Iran will change its tune.

/God forbid


Reuters adds (Hat Tip: Memeorandum):
In a break from the policies of his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama is offering improved ties with the Islamic Republic if it "unclenches its fist." Iranian leaders say they want to see a real shift in the policies of their old foe.

"The nations of this part of the world ... deeply hate America because during many years they have seen violence, military interference, rights violations, discrimination ... from America," Khamenei said in a televised speech.

"Even if they give sweet and beautiful talks to the Muslim nation ... that will not create a change," said Khamenei, Iran's most powerful figure with the final say on all matters of state. "Nothing will change with speeches and slogans."

He spoke at an event in Tehran to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.

He also called Israel, which Iran does not recognise, a "cancerous tumour in the heart" of the Muslim world.


"If you (Muslims) see that the Western world is talking more softly to you it is the result of public awareness and resistance in the Islamic world," Khamenei said.


Khamenei accused the United States, which Iranian leaders often refer to as the "Great Satan" guilty of "global arrogance," of lying about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

"The Iranian nation has repeatedly announced that it does not want nuclear weapons ... keeping nuclear arms would create a big danger and trouble and even if they pay us we do not want it," he said.

Khamenei said the United States had occupied two Muslim countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

"The terrorists kill one, two or ten people ... but you kill 100 or 150 people," he said, referring to a rising civilian death toll as foreign and Afghan troops battle Taliban insurgents.
It sounds like Iran is really receptive to Obama's appeals, doesn't it?


At 7:09 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

You know Carl - its a good day when both of us find ourselves in nearly complete agreement with Khamanei. All the American pressure on Israel has not softened the hearts of Iran's leaders. There will never be anything good enough to get Iran to unclench its fist to Obama's unrequited love for their country.


At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I dont view it as a clenched fist at all, considering Iran regime is not monolithic. These are interesting reads



At 9:44 PM, Blogger Paul W said...

"No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons."

I'm going to pick that particular statement apart, using another area of intense political controversy.

One can say that nuclear weapons are the "ultimate equalizer" between nations - after all, nations like England, France or Israel are quite small, and even have quite small nuclear arsenals, compared with, say, Russia (or the ex-USSR). However, the power of a relatively few nuclear weapons is so awesome, it has such a great deterrent effect, that even a country like Russia with vastly larger population, land area, resources and weaponry would not dare to attack any of these nations for fear of unacceptable damage upon retaliation by whichever small nation it attacked.

OK, now that this is established on the level of nations, let's scale it down to the level of individuals. One can easily make the same argument for handguns or other personally-carried firearms. A small person, with far less strength, speed, agility and less acute senses can deter a much larger, stronger, faster, etc. person intent on robbing him/her, due to the fear of unacceptable damage upon retaliation by that smaller, etc. person.


I haven't heard, and don't EVER expect to hear, Obama or anyone in his adminstration make the argument that "No single person should pick and choose which other people hold firearms."

Hypocricy, that's all this is. The fact is that Iran is in violation of the NPT, which forbids the development of nuclear weapons by signatories (other than the "Big 5" of the US, Russia, China, England and France). Further, Iran has openly, and on many occasions, threatened the existence of Israel. Do we let persons of questionable sanity, with a history of credible threats against others, to legally purchase firearms? No, of course not - so why shouldn't other nations be able to say the same about a nation like Iran? No reason, except politics (with a dash of hidden antisemitism).


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