Sunday, January 22, 2006

Iran and the Bomb

In tomorrow's Times, David Brooks lays out the four bad solutions to the current standoff with Iran - Hating the Bomb. Given my own political predilections, I would go with the "pre-emptionists," who include John McCain.
Pre-emptors would work with Europe and the U.N. to step up pressure on Iran, while making it clear the world is willing to do what it takes to halt the nuclear program. As McCain said on "Face the Nation": "There is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option. That is a nuclear-armed Iran."
But all of the options are bad.

The most recent statement by the Israeli Defense Minister on Iran:
Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned the people of Iran on Saturday that their president would bring disaster and suffering upon them if he continued to call for the destruction of the Jewish state. He also said Israel was preparing to protect itself if international diplomatic efforts failed to convince Iran to give up its nuclear program.

Speaking at the Herzliya conference, an annual gathering of politicians and academics, Iranian-born Mofaz said he knew a large portion of the Iranian people did not support President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's ideology.

Mofaz addressed the Iranian people saying: "Ahmedinejad, his hallucinatory statements, his criminal actions and his extreme views will bring disaster upon you. Do what you understand needs to be done in order to prevent this.'' Mofaz, who was speaking in Hebrew, said Ahmedinejad should look at historical examples of others who tried to destroy the Jewish people.

"You, who are leading your country in an ideology of hatred, terror and anti-Semitism. You had better take a glance at history and see what became of tyrants like you who tried to annihilate the Jewish people. They only brought destruction upon their own people,'' he said.

Ahmedinejad has said that Israel should be :wiped off the map'' and has questioned whether the Holocaust took place.

Mofaz said that 2006 was a "year of transition'' during which Iran would not yet have a nuclear bomb, but that Israel would have to do all it could to make sure the United States and European nations maintained diplomatic pressure on the Iranians.

The United States and European Union want Iran's nuclear program to be referred to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, and accuse Tehran of seeking nuclear bombs. Iran says its nuclear program is purely for generating electricity.

"Israel's policy is ... to bring this hot potato to the Security Council to impose sanctions and invasive inspection,'' Mofaz said. He said Israel would nevertheless continue its preparations to protect itself if diplomatic means against Iran failed. "Israel must be capable of protecting itself and ... we are preparing for this,'' he said.
The stuff of nightmares.

And Ahmadinejad is up to his usual rhetoric:
In a new attack on the existence of Israel, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has challenged Europe to take back the Jews who emigrated to Israel, adding that no Jews would remain in Israel if Europe were to open its doors.

Ahmadinejad delivered the challenge after arriving in Syria for a two-day visit on Thursday. Addressing Europe, he asked: "Would you open the doors of your own countries to these (Jewish) immigrants so that they could travel to any part of Europe they chose?"

"Would you offer the necessary guarantees that you would provide for their security when they came to your countries and not allow another anti-Semitic wave in Europe?" he added in an apparent reference to recent attacks on Jewish cemeteries and properties in European states. [RL: or could this be a backdoor reference to the Holocaust that the AP reporter was too slow to pick up on?]

Ahmadinejad provoked an international outcries last year when he said Israel should be "wiped out" and that the Nazi Holocaust against Jews in World War II was a "myth."

In his comments in the Syrian capital, which Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Friday, Ahmadinejad forecast that the West would not answer the questions he had posed but would instead accuse him of "talking against global peace."

He said Europe should welcome Jewish people to prove its sincerity in supporting people's freedoms. He added he was confident that no Jews would remain in Israel if European countries allowed them to immigrate.
Among other things, it seems to have escaped Ahmadinejad's notice that about half of Israel's Jewish population is not of European descent, having left or been thrown out of Arab countries and Iran.

Every time Ahmadinejad says things like this, I am more attracted to the pre-emptionist option.

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