15 March 2021

Stating the Obvious

Over at Foreign Policy, they make what should be a common sense observation, that the as a result of the hardball tactics of the US, including proving itself that it will not abide by international agreements that it joins has an obvious effect, that, "Iran Is Starting to Want the Bomb."

That is what has happened with the DPRK, and now it appears to be happening with Iran:

On Feb. 8, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, in an interview with Iranian state television, made a veiled threat about his country’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon. “The supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] has explicitly said in his fatwa that nuclear weapons are against sharia law and the Islamic Republic sees them as religiously forbidden and does not pursue them,” Alavi said. “But a cornered cat may behave differently from when the cat is free. And if they [Western powers] push Iran in that direction, then it’s no longer Iran’s fault.”


All these responses misunderstand the real significance of Alavi’s “cornered cat” threat. The whole debate over Khamenei’s fatwa banning nuclear weapons has always been much ado about nothing; it never really mattered in the first place for either side. (The very fact that world powers engaged in marathon talks with Tehran from 2013 to 2015 to verifiably curb its nuclear program in exchange for economic relief confirms as much.) Far more important is what the comment reflects about an ongoing shift in Iran’s thinking about the bomb. Wide swaths of Iranian society, among the public and policymakers alike, seem to increasingly see the weapon not just as an ultimate deterrent but as a panacea for Iran’s chronic security problems and challenges to its sovereignty by foreign powers.

"Foreign powers" means the United States, whose record on following diplomatic agreements with Islamic Republic of Iran is almost as bad as its record on following treaties with American Indian nations in the 1800s. (The US has been blithely ignoring treaty obligations for decades involving pretty much every other nation on earth as well)

If your goal is to keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands, then the US needs to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).


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