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Iran a Threat? I Mean, Really?

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With all the current hype about the "threat" from Iran, it is time to review the record--and especially the significant bits and pieces that find neither ink nor air in our Israel-friendly, Fawning Corporate Media (FCM).

First, on the chance you missed it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said publicly that Iran "doesn't directly threaten the United States." Her momentary lapse came while answering a question at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 14.

Fortunately for her, most of her FCM fellow travelers must have been either jet-lagged or sunning themselves poolside when she made her unusual admission. And those who were present did Clinton the favor of disappearing her gaffe and ignoring its significance. (All one happy traveling family, you know.)

But she said it. It's on the State Department Web site. Those who had been poolside could have read the text after showering. They might have recognized a real story there. Granted, the substance was so off-message that it would probably not have been welcomed by editors back home.

In a rambling comment, Clinton had charged (incorrectly) that, despite President Barack Obama's reaching out to the Iranian leaders, he had elicited no sign they were willing to engage:

"Part of the goal -- not the only goal, but part of the goal -- that we were pursuing was to try to influence the Iranian decision regarding whether or not to pursue a nuclear weapon. And, as I said in my speech, you know, the evidence is accumulating that that [pursuing a nuclear weapon] is exactly what they are trying to do, which is deeply concerning, because it doesn't directly threaten the United States, but it directly threatens a lot of our friends, allies, and partners here in this region and beyond." (Emphasis added)

Qatar Afraid? Not So Much

The moderator turned to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al-Thani and invited him to give his perspective on "the danger that the Secretary just alluded to"if Iran gets the bomb."

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Al-Thani pointed to Iran's "official answer" that it is not seeking to have a nuclear bomb; instead, the Iranians "explain to us that their intention is to use these facilities for their peaceful reactors for electricity and medical use"

"We have good relations with Iran," he added. "And we have continuous dialogue with the Iranians." The prime minister added, "the best thing for this problem is a direct dialogue between the United States and Iran," and "dialogue through messenger is not good."

Al-Thani stressed that, "For a small country, stability and peace are very important," and intimated -- diplomatically but clearly -- that he was at least as afraid of what Israel and the U.S. might do, as what Iran might do.

All right. Secretary Clinton concedes that Iran does not directly threaten the United States. Now who are these "friends" to whom she refers? First and foremost, Israel, of course. How often have we heard Israeli officials warn that they would consider nuclear weapons in Iran's hands an "existential" threat?

Time to do a reality check. Former French President Jacques Chirac is perhaps the best-known world statesman to hold up to public ridicule the notion that Israel, with between 200 and 300 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, would consider Iran's possession of a nuclear bomb an existential threat.

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In a recorded interview with the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Le Nouvel Observateur, on Jan. 29, 2007, Chirac put it this way:

"Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed."

Chirac concluded that Iran's possession of a nuclear bomb would not be "very dangerous."

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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Foreign policy has been the domain of elites repre... by Henry Pelifian on Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 1:16:37 PM
Ray McGovern just doesn't get it -- as Israel sure... by Eugene Elander on Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 3:17:27 PM
This is one of the most INSANE comments I have see... by James Roop on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:22:36 PM
Never in the History of Empires can one find one c... by syed mahdi on Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010 at 5:02:56 PM
@ Ray McGovern : You can NOT be serious ! - I see ... by Bahramerad on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 12:47:02 AM
Poop from Israel and their lying friends.ISRAEL ST... by James Roop on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:34:30 PM
Try living in the Middle East and then you will fi... by David Chester on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 7:11:25 AM
Isreal, could shoot down any threat with patroit m... by marko polo on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 8:09:07 AM
@ Marco Polo : I know it is difficult for you but ... by Bahramerad on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 8:43:05 AM
Iran has been under constant attack for control of... by James Roop on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:41:46 PM
@ Marko Polo : I know it is deficalt for you but p... by Bahramerad on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 8:38:41 AM
This article is about IRAN & the mullahs . Yo... by Bahramerad on Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 at 11:02:10 PM
Where is text about Irans mullahs? IsraelFirst, o... by James Roop on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:25:37 AM
Iranian misiles are ALL aimed at the Arab Gulf sta... by Bahramerad on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:37:06 AM
There is something about the Israel-haters and Isr... by Eugene Elander on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:41:47 AM
Nothing about mullahs in article.....Loads of refe... by James Roop on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:05:17 PM
Eugene,You have not delivered "a history lesson" t... by William deB. Mills on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 10:06:47 AM
This is a good, thorough article. The Iranian peop... by Peter Cohen on Thursday, Apr 29, 2010 at 11:54:40 AM
At last -- an intelligent, well-reasoned response ... by Eugene Elander on Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 3:28:51 AM
Israel has expanded. TRUELand for Palestinians has... by James Roop on Friday, Apr 30, 2010 at 8:15:35 AM
Eugene,As I noted in my comment, there are indeed ... by William deB. Mills on Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 10:39:12 AM