Thursday 9 February 2012

Israel and Iran - A Tale of Two Countries

Once again the screws are being tightened against Iran.  The USA, as always supinely supported by the UK, wants to ratchet up the sanctions against Iran.  And of course Israel and its supporters in the USA would really like a war against Iran.  Something which the USA refuses to rule out.  The ostensible reason for this latest bout of sabre raising is the assertion that Iran is on the verge of building a nuclear weapon.  Western politicians, closely followed by their cheerleaders in the media, constantly bombard us with scare stories about an Iran with nuclear weapons.  All this scary stuff about nuclear weapons is of course just bullshit.  The Iranians have always denied any nuclear weapons pretensions and the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) has consistently found no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme.  This is also the conclusion, perhaps surprisingly of the Israelis.  A recent report in Haaretz, via Juan Cole, confirmed that the Israeli intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran has not yet decided whether to begin a military programme to construct a nuclear warhead.  US intelligence agencies have come to the same conclusion.

So why all the talk about harsher sanctions against Iran?Here it is important to remember that western hostility to Iran has nothing to de with nuclear weapons.  Iran's nuclear programme began while Iran was still ruled by the Shah, that great friend of the west.  At that time the west showered Iran with praise and economic deals, including nuclear deals.  It was only after the revolution which toppled the Shah and ushered in the Islamic Republic that the west turned against Iran.  What the west and the USA in particular dislikes about the current regime in Iran is that it offers a ongoing challenge to western hegemony in the middle east, source of most of our oil.

To bear this out, one only needs to compare the west's treatment of Israel with its treatment of Iran.  On the nuclear issue, while Iran clearly has no nuclear weapons and has always denied any nuclear weapons ambitions, Israel does have nuclear weapons.  It has had them since the late 1960s and continues to develop them.  Israel is the only nuclear power in the middle east, yet the west has conspicuously failed to impose any sanctions on Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.  Israel has also failed to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty, while Iran has.  This means there are no 
IAEC reports on Israel's nuclear weapons programmes.  And  still no sanctions from the west.  The photo at the top of this post shows the latest Jericho 3 missile which provides Israel with nuclear strike capabilities within the entire middle east and Europe. 

When it comes to living peacefully with your neighbours there is also a great difference between the two states.  Iran has not attacked or invaded any country for at least over a hundred years.  It has of course been attacked in that period - think Iraqi war, when the USA and the UK backed Saddam Hussein of all people, but it has not itself attacked anybody.  Contrast this with Israel, which has been in a constant state of war with most of its neighbours since its inception.  A birth that involved the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their historic villages and towns.  Since then Israel has invaded Lebanon twice or is it three times, Egypt and Jordan at least once and continues to illegally occupy the Golan area, part of Syria.  Not to mention the ongoing occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.  So one country, Israel, has a recent history of invading and occupying the territory of its neighbours, yet is immune from any sanctions or indeed of any kind of pressure whatsoever. While another country with no record of invasion or occupation is the subject of western imposed sanctions and threats of military attack by either Israel or the USA or both.

It would nice if just once in a while our mainstream media and especially our supposedly independent BBC was to properly investigate the double standards on display in out treatment of Israel and Iran.

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