No Attack on Iran
(Seattle Times) -- By Bruce Ramsey --
...Sanctions are economic. And political leaders do not give away important political goals for economic gain.
I attended a forum Dec. 16 at Town Hall organized by opponents of sanctions. There were three speakers: Muhammad Sahimi, professor of chemical engineering at the University of California; Ian Lustick, professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Keith Weissman, former deputy director of AIPAC, the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The sanctions on Iran are mainly in defense of Israel. Lustick argued, “There is no strategic military threat to Israel” in Iran getting the bomb. If Iran is really trying to build a nuclear bomb—and Lustick said, “I assume they are”—it is not to drop on Israel, which has its own bombs and would drop them on Iran. Iran wants the bomb as a deterrent, which is the same reason Israel has.
Muhammad Sahini, an ethnic Iranian, agreed with that point. He said, “The lesson of George W. Bush invading Iraq and leaving North Korea alone is that if you have a nuclear bomb, the United States will leave you alone.”
Sahini said, “Iran’s nuclear program is supported by all political factions in Iran,” including the pro-democracy side. The difference is that the reformists want to reach a peaceful accommodation with the West, and the current leaders don’t.
He said Iran has no territorial claims on any of its neighbors and hasn’t invaded any of them in 275 years. He noted that several countries in Iran’s neighborhood—Russia, Pakistan, India and Israel—have nuclear weapons already.
He said an attack on Iran “will only play into the hands of the hardliners,” which is probably true.
Weissman argued that sanctions “hurt American business more than they hurt Iran. And they don’t stop what you intend to stop. They might make you feel good if you’re in Congress.”
Lustick said sanctions “are a placeholder,” an alternative to war that can “constrain American power.” He said he didn’t expect them to “work” in the sense their supporters claimed—implying, I think, that even their supporters, the intelligent ones, were smart enough to see that.
Lustick said he didn’t think Israel would attack Iran. If they did, he said, “it’s going to put the final nail in the coffin of the idea that Israel will ever be accepted in the region. And that means Zionism will fail.”
“They’re trying to get the United States to do it,” he said...MORE...LINK
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