Once again the Bush administration is leading the pack to impose a third round of sanctions on Iran although Tehran has cooperated with the IAEA. However, they have failed to prove a negative to the satisfaction of Mr. Bush as reported to him by it would seem, the government’s favorite informants, the MEK; a terrorist cult who had a hand in the US embassy takeover in Iran and the murder of American civilians[i]. Nor has Tehran been able to satisfy Washington of their ‘future intentions’.
Sanctions are an alternative to military force. By punishing a nation economically, socially, and/or politically, it is hoped that change will be affected without the prohibitive cost of war. The current policies directed at isolating and undermining the government have in reality helped to weaken the social and economic institutions which the country requires if it is to become a viable democracy. Washington policy makers, in compliance with Israel’s wishes, are asking us to believe that Iran is a threat to Israel.
Neoconservatives persist in their message that ‘our ally Israel’ must be safeguarded from the Iranian threat, and for this purpose, a third round of sanctions must be imposed on Iran to prevent them from building a nuclear weapon. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have agreed on a draft resolution for a third round of sanctions against Iran. It would seem that the perception of threat is misplaced given that Israel is so well-prepared to protect herself – with Germany’s help.
In addition to the 300-400 estimated nuclear warheads that she has in her arsenal, Israel received three Dolphin submarines from Germany, the last of which arrived in1999, and two more are due to arrive by 2010. These submarines are rather extraordinary and unique in that they have wider than required torpedo tubes, which led to speculation that the submarines have a nuclear role. In mid-October 2003, the Los Angeles Times indicated that Israel had successfully modified American-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles for use with nuclear warheads on its submarines. It was also reported that Israeli engineers had modified the missile launching pads of earlier Dolphin submarines at the Kiel's HDW dockyard, possibly to accommodate nuclear warheads.
No doubt, it is heartwarming for the people of the Middle East to know that the German Green party had demanded that in the future, additional submarines could only be delivered to Israel on the basis of a binding assurance that they would not be used as nuclear weapons platforms. It would seem that the Israeli’s were able to prove their future intentions. The sale of two additional submarines to Israel at a cost of approximately 1 billion euros, with the German government footing one-third of the submarines' construction costs from its household budget was confirmed in August 2006[ii].
Meanwhile, the country that is a signatory to the NPT and one which is now facing sanctions for being a ‘threat to world peace, for no reason other than abiding by Article IV of the NPT, has made curious technological advances of its own which must surely be a threat to those who have hijacked the spirit of ‘Atoms for Peace’.
Perhaps if Mr. ElBaradei had not been summoned to Paris prior to delivering his report, he would have had time to recall his well-articulated speech when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize: “At the IAEA, we work daily on every continent to put nuclear and radiation techniques in the service of humankind”[iii]. In remembering that occasion, he would have had cause to report to the UNSC that the only possible ‘threat’ from Iran is the extraordinary accomplishments in the field of science and technology. Iranian researchers of Amir-Kabir Industrial University of Tehran have successfully developed a new type of cardiac pacemakers with long-lasting nuclear batteries[iv]. The nuclear batteries in the pacemakers would last about 50 years. This extraordinary feat was accomplished by a female scientist.
Implications of such innovations are profound. The colonial powers owed their ability to control colonies to the power of “mystification”. This included not only the superior arms, but the magic of white man’s medicine which the natives thought automatically extends to the culture of the ‘mysterious’ colonizers. The mindset persists today. Iran has broken the cycle – this has set off an alarm in those quarters where the existence of certain groups depends on the subjugation of fellow human beings.
No doubt sanctions and war are emotional issues; when America was led to an illegal war against sovereign Iraq, our emotions played a great role. Fear subjugated our common sense, altruism – the desire to give the people of Iraq a chance at liberty, misled us into believing the lies we were told. Liberty cost millions of lives. Today, we are being asked to live in fear of Iran. A nation that in spite of limited resources and isolation has expended so much of its resources to finding innovative ways to improve and enhance life, while our own government spends billions building weapons of mass destruction and fighting wars, or assisting countries that wish to engage in war. We have to ask ourselves: “Which is the nation with a heart?”