Actually, the Iranian leaders are a very cautious, thoughtful lot. They have never attacked their neighbors. The terrible, eight-year long war with Iraq was started by the reckless Saddam Hussein.
The impetus for building the bomb came when the power-drunk neo-conservatives in Washington, most of them Zionist Jews, spoke quite openly about attacking Iran next, right after the short, little war they expected in neighboring Iraq.
It seems that the Iranian leadership has decided that it is now far more important to upgrade the economy than play with the bomb. Being natural traders -- bazaar is a Persian world -- they may give up the bomb in return for the lifting of sanctions, and use the riches of their country for the good of their citizens, who aspire to become an advanced modern society. That's why Khamenei and the people elected someone like Rouhani.
THIS WEEK Israeli TV screened a documentary film about the life of the Israelis in the Shah's Iran. It was sheer paradise ("paradise" is also a Persian word). The Israelis lived off the fat of the land. They built the Shah's dreaded secret police (the Savak, not to be confused with Shabak, its Israeli model). They befriended his generals, most of whom were trained in Israel. They built his industries and started to construct his nuclear installations. Sheer nostalgia.
Persian oil was exported to Europe through Israel, by way of a pipeline laid between Eilat and Ashkelon financed by the Shah. The American-Israeli-Iranian deal known as Irangate was concocted in the early days of the Ayatollahs (literally: signs of Allah).
Those who want to go back in history will be reminded of the fact that it was the great Persian emperor, Cyrus, who let the Jews return from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem, as duly recorded in the Bible (the books of Ezra and Nehemiah).
The modern alliance between Israel and Iran was built on the joint enmity towards the Arabs, and could easily come to the fore again. Politics, like pornography, is a matter of geography.
THE WAR-WEARY American population seems to be inclined to accept the Iranian peace challenge. Businessmen will meet Bazaar traders, and hopefully work out a deal. No war.
At the same time, a positive development is also possible in Syria. Now that the US and Russia have discovered that they can work together in this critical area, the two sides in the civil war may get tired of massacring each other and agree to a political solution (such as the one I outlined last week).
That would make two stolen wars -- stolen from those who hold on to the primitive belief that the only solution for any problem is the use of naked force.
A quite different view of life is presented by these words of Bertrand Russell, sent me by a lady in Pakistan:
"I have a very simple creed: that life and joy and beauty are better than dusty death, and I think when we listen to [music] we must all of us feel that the capacity to produce such music, and the capacity to hear such music, is a thing worth preserving and should not be thrown away in foolish squabbles. You may say it's a simple creed, but I think everything important is very simple indeed."