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Fishing for a Pretext to Squeeze Iran

Posted on Mar 13, 2006
Karen Spector

By Juan Cole

Editor’s Note: Truthdig’s Middle Eastern affairs expert argues that the Iranian nuclear issue “has not reached the point of crisis, and therefore other motivations must be sought for the Bush administration’s breathless rhetoric.”

UPDATE: On March 13, President Bush told an audience at George Washington University: “Coalition forces have seized IEDs and components that were clearly produced in Iran…. Such actions—along with Iran’s support for terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons—are increasingly isolating Iran, and America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.”

Bush’s allegations about the Iranians providing improvised explosive devices to the Iraqi guerrilla insurgency are bizarre. The British military looked into charges of improvised explosive devices coming from Iran, and this past January actually apologized to Tehran when no evidence pointed to Iranian government involvement. The guerrillas in Iraq are militant Sunnis who hate Shiites, and it is wholly implausible that the Iranian regime would supply bombs to the enemies of its Iraqi allies.

Although Bush charges Iran with “support for terrorism,” he seems unable to name any international terrorist incident of the past six years that can unambiguously be attributed to Iran.

His baldfaced accusation that Iran is in “pursuit of nuclear weapons” is, as we will see below, not proved either.

Bush’s vendetta against Iran is all the more invidious in light of the sweetheart deal he recently offered India, which never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  A recent United Nations report says that India has been less than forthright about its enrichment programs, and that its procedures are inadequate to deter further proliferation. India dismisses the report. The Bush administration nevertheless has proposed changing U.S. law to permit the sale of nuclear technology to India.

Start of Original Essay:

Iran threatened last week to use the oil weapon if the United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on the country because of its nuclear research program, promising “harm and pain” to the United States. In addition to consumer anxieties about oil prices, rumors of a planned U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iran keep flying, and neighboring Iraqi Shiites have threatened reprisals if that is done to their brethren. What is driving the crisis between the Bush administration and Iran and ratcheting up the rhetoric?

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said on Friday, “If sanctions are imposed, we will definitely use the oil tool and other tools and we will stop at nothing.” The regime is clearly fearful of an international economic boycott, but feels it has its own advantages in the struggle. With increasing demand from India and China and instability in Nigeria and Iraq, Iran’s crude oil exports are important in maintaining an affordable price, especially in the winters. In some ways, by invading Iraq and destabilizing it, as well as fostering the rise of Shiite religious parties in Baghdad, the Bush administration has inadvertently strengthened Shiite Iran’s hand.
Although the doubling of petroleum prices in the past two years has so far been absorbed by the world economy, many analysts are convinced that if the price went up to $75 a barrel and stayed there for two years, it would add significantly to the underlying rate of inflation and begin subtracting 2.5% a year from world growth. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chimed in with regard to the American threats: “They know that they are not capable of causing the least harm to Iranian people. They will suffer more.”


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Iran is a mid-size country of some 70 million, with a per capita income of only about $2,000 a year. It has no weapons of mass destruction, and its conventional military forms no threat to the United States. From an Iranian point of view, the Americans are simply being unreasonably aggressive.  Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei has given a fatwa or formal religious ruling against nuclear weapons, and President Ahmadinejad at his inauguration denounced such arms and committed Iran to remaining a nonnuclear weapons state.

In fact, the Iranian regime has gone further, calling for the Middle East to be a nuclear-weapons-free zone. On Feb. 26, Ahmadinejad said: “We too demand that the Middle East be free of nuclear weapons; not only the Middle East, but the whole world should be free of nuclear weapons.” Only Israel among the states of the Middle East has the bomb, and its stockpile provoked the arms race with Iraq that in some ways led to the U.S. invasion of 2003. The U.S. has also moved nukes into the Middle East at some points, either on bases in Turkey or on submarines. 

Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect and monitor its nuclear energy research program, as required by the treaty. It raised profound suspicions, however, with its one infraction against the treaty—which was to conduct some secret civilian research that it should have reported and did not, and which was discovered by inspectors. Tehran denies having military labs aiming for a bomb, and in November of 2003 the IAEA formally announced that it could find no proof of such a weapons program. The U.S. reaction was a blustery incredulity, which is not actually an argument or proof in its own right, however good U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton is at bunching his eyebrows and glaring.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allows Iran to develop civilian nuclear energy, and the United States itself urged Iran to build reactors in the 1970s. Iran does not have a heavy-water breeder reactor, which is the easy way to get a bomb. It does have light-water reactors for energy production, but these cannot be used to get enough fissionable material to make a bomb. Although Vice President Dick Cheney has made light of an oil state seeking nuclear energy, it would be a rational economic policy to use nuclear energy for domestic needs and sell petroleum on the world market. Certainly, the NPT permits such a policy. 
The difficulty for those concerned with proliferation is that for Iran to independently run its light-water reactors, it needs to complete the fuel cycle of uranium enrichment. The ability to produce nuclear fuel is only one step away from the ability to refine uranium further, to weapons-grade quality. Still, it is a step away and could not easily be done in secret with inspectors making visits. Iran is experimenting with refrigerator-size centrifuges as a means of enriching uranium, but would need 16,000, hooked up in a special way, to produce a bomb. It has 164, and one of its proposals to defuse the crisis with the U.S. is to limit itself to no more than 3,000. Otherwise, it says it ideally would have 50,000 centrifuges.
No signatory of the NPT that allows regular IAEA inspections has ever moved to the stage of bomb production. Inspections have been extremely effective tools. United Nations weapons inspectors discovered and dismantled Saddam Hussein’s weapons program after the Gulf War in the early 1990s. The IAEA was even able to detect trace plutonium on Iranian equipment that came from Pakistan, which manufactures bombs. Those who remain suspicious of Iran’s ultimate intentions are not completely without a case. But there is good reason to believe that Iran’s nuclear program could have been monitored successfully.
The Bush administration has arbitrarily taken the position that Iran may not have a nuclear research program at all, even a civilian one. This stance actually contradicts the guarantees of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Washington officials continually intimate to the press that Tehran has an active weapons program, which is speculation. And, of course, the United States itself is egregiously in violation of several articles of the NPT, keeping enough nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert to destroy the world several times over and actively pursuing new and deadly weapons, even dreaming of “tactical” nukes. Its ally in the region, Israel, never signed the NPT and was helped by the British to get a bomb in the 1960s.
The U.S.  National Intelligence Estimate released in summer 2005 estimates that if Iran did have an active nuclear weapons program, and if the international atmosphere were favorable to it being able to get hold of the requisite equipment, it would still be a good 10 years away from a bomb. But the international atmosphere is actively hostile to such a development, and anyway it has not been proved that there is such a weapons program. 
If the Supreme Jurisprudent of theocratic Iran has given a fatwa against nukes, if the president of the country has renounced them and called for others to do so, if the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no evidence of a military nuclear weapons program, and if Iran is at least 10 years from having a bomb even if it is trying to get one, then why is there a diplomatic crisis around this issue between the United States and Iran in 2006?
The answer is that the Iranian nuclear issue is dj vu all over again. As it did with regard to the Baath regime in Iraq, the militarily aggressive Bush administration wants to overthrow the government in Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, now in a coma, urged the U.S. to hit Iran as soon as it had taken care of Saddam Hussein. The Israelis have a grudge against it because it helped end their military occupation and land grab in southern Lebanon by giving aid to the Shiite Hezbollah organization, the only Arab force ever to succeed in regaining occupied land from Israel by military means. But Iran does not form a conventional military threat to Israel.
Overthrowing the theocratic regime in Iran, Washington hopes, would reduce Hezbollah pressure on Israel over its continued occupation of the Shebaa Farms area (and, implicitly, the Golan Heights). It would make Syria more complaisant toward Israel and Washington. It would open up Iran to investment and exploration on the part of the American petroleum majors, which are at the moment excluded because the U.S. slapped an economic boycott on Iran. It might remove support for the more hard-line elements among Shiite political parties in Iraq, making that country easier for the U.S. to shape and dominate. In short, a U.S.-installed regime in Iran would hold out the promise of returning to the halcyon 1960s, when the shah was an American puppet in the region.
The nuclear issue is for the most part a pretext for the Americans to exert pressure on the regime in Tehran. This is not to say that proliferation is not a worrisome issue, or that it can be ruled out that Iran wants a bomb. It is to say that the situation simply has not reached the point of crisis, and therefore other motivations must be sought for the Bush administration’s breathless rhetoric.
President Ahmadinejad, it should be freely admitted, has, through his lack of diplomatic skills and his maladroitness, given his enemies important propaganda tools. Unlike his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier. He went to an anti-Zionist conference and quoted Ayatollah Khomeini, saying that the “Occupation regime” must “vanish.”  This statement about Israel does not necessarily imply violence. After all, Ariel Sharon made the occupation regime in the Gaza Strip vanish. The quote was translated in the international press, however, as a wish that “Israel be wiped off the map,” and this inaccurate translation has now become a tag line for all newspaper articles written about Iran in Western newspapers. 
In another speech, Ahmadinejad argued that Germans rather than Palestinians should have suffered a loss of territory for the establishment of a Jewish state, if the Germans perpetrated the Holocaust. This argument is an old one in the Middle East, but it was immediately alleged that Ahmadinejad was advocating the shipping of Israelis to Europe. That was not what he said.
It is often alleged that since Iran harbors the desire to “destroy” Israel, it must not be allowed to have the bomb. Ahmadinejad has gone blue in the face denouncing the immorality of any mass extermination of innocent civilians, but has been unable to get a hearing in the English-language press. Moreover, the presidency is a very weak post in Iran, and the president is not commander of the armed forces and has no control over nuclear policy. Ahmadinejad’s election is not relevant to the nuclear issue, and neither is the question of whether he is, as Liz Cheney is reported to have said, “a madman.” Iran has not behaved in a militarily aggressive way since its 1979 revolution, having invaded no other countries, unlike Iraq, Israel or the U.S.  Washington has nevertheless succeeded in depicting Iran as a rogue state.
A final issue between Iran and the United States that might explain the escalating rhetoric over nonexistent nukes is Iraq. The U.S. is bogged down in a quagmire there, fighting militant Sunni Arabs. But it has also seen its political plans for Iraq checked on several occasions by the rise of powerful Iraqi Shiite parties, such as the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the Dawa Party, and the Sadr Movement. Iran hosted SCIRI and Dawa in exile in the Saddam years, and has close relations with them. There are allegations that it gives them money. 
To any extent that Iran has helped these parties win elections and maintain their paramilitary forces, it has undermined the American hope of installing a relatively secular figure as a Karzai-like ruler. The U.S. would very much like to limit Iranian influence in Iraq, and aggressiveness on the nuclear issue is a way for the Bush administration to enlist European and other countries in the effort to put pressure on Iran and make it cautious about intervening too forcefully in Iraqi affairs. 
In fact, the Shiite parties in southern Iraq are homegrown and would almost certainly have done well in elections without any Iranian support. The Americans are in some ways scapegoating Iran for their own failures of analysis. They appear to have been unaware of how popular the Shiite religious leaders had become in the late Saddam period, and so were unprepared for their strong showing in the U.S.-sponsored elections.
The United States has succeeded in bringing Iran before the United Nations Security Council, though it is unclear if that body will slap economic sanctions on Tehran. Such a move could be vetoed by Russia or China, both of which have high hopes of sharing in the Iranian oil bonanza. If an international boycott is imposed, it will mainly harm the civilians and children of Iran. The crisis has been fueled by Ahmadinejad’s alarming and foolish rhetoric, and by the clever aggressiveness of the Bush administration, which is better at framing its enemies than any other U.S. administration in history. 
Washington no longer has much leverage on Iran. Its military is bogged down in Iraq, and its diplomats are forbidden to speak to Tehran under most circumstances. Its attempt to prevent even a civilian Iranian nuclear energy program may convince the clerical hard-liners to pull their country out of the NPT and to end international inspections. If the Iranians really did want a bomb, they could not have asked for a better pretext to leave the NPT.  President Bush’s policies toward Iran have already failed, and could fail even more miserably in the months to come.

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By Jennifer, October 10, 2006 at 3:27 am Link to this comment
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I like it and the background and colors make it easy to readk

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By b a usman nigerian, July 14, 2006 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
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America should just go ahead and repeat what she did to Iraq in Iran and stop hiding under the pretext of nuclear.

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By Correction, May 23, 2006 at 3:24 am Link to this comment
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Cole’s response to the ridiculous hit piece on Cole by Hitchens linked to in comment #8547 (right below mine) can be found here:

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By Christopher H., May 3, 2006 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment
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Great article on Cole at Slate.

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By Patriot L Rots, May 3, 2006 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
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“However, this article does not go out of its way to show with absolute certainty that Bush and Co. are entirely wrong”.

Try a little harder 5096 - you were almost there - then you blew it.

You are asking Cole to prove that the neocons are ‘not wrong’ with ‘absolute certainty’. Hehe.

Do you realise how foolish that is? Were you even born when the US took us into Iraq? Is it not incumbent upon Bolton et al to ‘prove’ that Iran intends to develop a military capability. Your so-called ‘smoking gun’ showed nothing of the sort.

Perhaps you thing that the US should launch a nuclear dtrike against Iran because Juan Cole can’t prove that the neocons are wrong.

I’m only responding to your comment because I don’t have time to scroll up and find the other idiots. Bless you 5096 [American?]

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By Iranian from Iran, April 25, 2006 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment
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To the oxymoron “American Iranian Patriot” and Mr. Mazloom’e bad bakht. It happens all the time but it never ceases to amaze seeing how low some people can fall under the American guidance and tutorship. The free and proud people of Iran are one hundred percent behind their sovereign government. The proud and free people of Iran have given too much in blood and treasure for their freedom to forget what kind of people you are and what criminal vulgar entity America and Israel are. We will fight America and people like you, although it is a given that you are too much of a coward to do any actual fighting, to your inevitable end and by Grace of God we will keep our freedom and we will prevail. You ran away to America the last time we showed you our fury. Lick all the American ass you want but don’t ask for our fury again; as there will be no place for you to run to this time, except perhaps up that American ass you are licking, you miserable piece of shits.

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By arash, March 25, 2006 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment
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to all you iranians who wish US to attack iran and all that your a disgrace and you know what at least mullahs were elected by people 28 years ago after the revoloution people like you are the people that use to suck up to the sah or had liquir stores or any other illegal business with the shas regime, now with the islamic regime you cant countiniue your robbery of the iranian wealth before shah and you people use to take it for your swiss banks now the islamic regime spendis it on advanced weapons at least this benifits the people.

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By RGN, March 24, 2006 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
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As a British citizen I deeply regret and I am angry that our own Prime Minister Tony Blair, commonly called in our country ” the poodle”, has allied himself so closely to President Bush’s policies in Iraq and for the new adventure in Iran. Even demonstrations against entering the Iraq war by over 1,500,000 people in London failed to obtain any acknowledgement by the Blair government.
I would ask the American people to wake up and “smell the napalm”  which reeks throughout the Bush Administration. Their stench and stealth should not be allowed to kill one more person in the Middle East. The Bush/Blair alliance has caused incalculable damage to the harmony between religions, sects races and faiths throughout the region. Has the US or Britain gained one iota from the Bush/Blair action in the Middle East? Certain interested parties may have but as a citizen the only involvement I, my family and the other 60 million people of this Island have is the payment of many billions of tax pounds to finance these war games and the case of the US many hundreds of billions of dollars.
Remember Iran has threatened no one. It has been interfered with throughout the 20th century by oil companies, the CIA and US allies such as Saddam Hussein of Iraq during the 1980’s Iraq invasion of Iran.

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By JP, March 23, 2006 at 9:25 am Link to this comment
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I think it has to do more with the Israel lobby and the oil bourse than a threat.  Just more fearmongering—same story, different country.

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By Iranian-American Patriot, March 22, 2006 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
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This is a response to those who think that the likes of Juan Cole give a damn about Iranian people, or their apirations for democracy and human rights.

First, this is a dmocratic society and people have every right to write and publish whatever they want, including Professor Juan Cole who is teaching in a respectful department of ME studies at the University of Michigan, the flag-ship of the Michigan universities.  He is not in the pay of IRI, or CIA, or Mossad, or whatever one may claim, but he is a known sympathizer of the IRI and has been rooting for this criminal regime since the time of the Revolution in 1979 to present.  I could not careless if he were Bahai, or Hindu, or Zantoo, or Twelve Imami Shia, or pur agnostic, or genostic of Goosaleh-Parast for all I car.

Second, I do care and every men and woemn of conscience should care that Juan Cole is repeating this regime’s calims at a time that the world-over has come to this conclusion that the entity called Islamic Republic of Iran has become a big concern for stablity, peace and progress in the Middle East region that provides the bulk of energy resources for Japan, Europe, and partially the North Americ; the world consensus is that IRI is sponsoring all kind of Terrorist Organizations from Al-Qaeda to Hizbollah to a wide range of other terroristic organization that use Islam as their cover, and being financed by the IRI, carry out these terroristic activities in whichever part of the democratic wworld that Iran’s mullahs desire.  IRI is a cancerous tumor that has got to be removed for the sake of the wealth of the world and it seems that we are moving in that direction.

Third, USA and her allies should not attack Iran under any circumstance, but should support Iranian Oppositional Forces (from Jebhe Melli to Monarchists to non-Stalinist Leftist to Mojahedin Khalq, to Iranian Kurdish, Baluch, Torkmen etc., etc.) in order to topple this regime.  Prior to this, our President Georg W. Bush should come forward and declare the IRI as an illegtimate regime that has no support in Iran and is an international paraih for its past 27 years of continuous crimes against Iranian people (documents already exist and have been used by democratic societies against IRI officials as in the case of the Mikonos Trials in Germany), and against many other countries. 

In addition, the EU parliament shoudl take the case of the IRI’s crimes, including crimes of international terrorism that IRi has committed with the direct knowledge, order and participation of IRI’s top officials (from Khomeini all the way to Ahmadi Nejad).

Once the dossie is coplete it should be presented to the UN General Asse,bly for consideration.  Once it has been determined that IRI is an enemy of humanity for its continuous violations of Iranian people’s Human Rights and for comitting Crimes against Humanity (it is in the Charter of the UN), than IRI officals should be arrested and put in a Nurenberg tpe of International Tribunal and once convicted, should be pusnidhe accordingly.

In the mean time, the Interpol should be given the authority to arrest known IRI agents around the world, IRI’s embassies and consulates which ar ethe Den’s of International Terrorism should be closed and these elements should be declared persona non grata and asked to leave the civilized countries of the world, or better deported to Iran by a Con-Air type of operations.

Finally, IRI’s assests should be frozen and Iran’s seat in UN and in any other world organizations be given to those who represent the Council of Iranian Resistance in Exile who would hve the authority to speak on behalf of the Iranian People inside Iran and diaspora.

In short, no war, no invasion, no bombing, let Iranian people get rid of this cancerous tumor called IRI, and in the mean time, if a bunch of ex-Bahai now whatever Professors would like to defend Ahamdi Nejad, let them do it, who cares.  But I would not respoind to those agents of IRI who are of the opinion that we have “democracy” in Iran if we compare ourselves with Afghanistan under a bunch of 7th centry hominiods called Taliban.

As to one gadfly who thinks that I seek job at White House, I have a very good job and thanks to Allah, don’t need to apply for anything.

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By N. Sadeghi, March 21, 2006 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
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Once I was listening a debate between some democrat and republican politicians and ex-generals on C-SPAN TV in late 1990’s. The Democrat eager to score a political point against the Republicans pushed the argument rather forcefully that the 1991 war against Iraq was a failure. The Republican general could not take it any more and there slipped out the Freudian truth and he ushered. “We sent back Iraq at least two centuries to the dark ages and you are telling me that we did not succeed?” This is the real truth behind US policy, naked and revealed. And her policy towards Iran is not any different.

I hope by now there should be no question that the intentions of US policy in the greater middle east has to do all with domination for their own best interest, or better even, the best interest of few who are trying to take the world as their hostage while they are the only supper power and feel unchecked. For those naives including the “Iranian American patriot” who like to take the truth of undemocratic and theocratic regime in Iran as the evidence of US legitimacy for messianic quest to destroy Iran as it did for Iraq, it must be obvious that what is going on in Iraq or went on with over ten years of sanctions prior to this war is nothing to wish for. If some are naive enough to think that US wants democracy and respect for human rights etc in the Middle East region, grow up. US want client states. Just look at their allies in the Middle East, and wake up. If US want justice in the Middle East, learn the ABC of politics. Justice is only between equals. US can’t even provide health care for 40 million of its own population. If US does not care about its own population, many of them so poor and disadvantaged that is beyond understanding for a economic superpower, why would it care about the state of economy and overall well being of 70 million Iranians.

Lastly true that Iranian regime is for most part not democratic. True that it has suppressed its own people not allowing Iranians to become strong citizens and to be the authors of the laws they should obey. True that political executions, imprisonments, restrictions to Iranian journalists, authors etc has been hallmark of its governance. But Iran has not broken any international law; Is not in pursuit of nuclear weapon; is not threat to US or Israel or any other country in the world.

Democratic transformation in Iran can and will only be achieved by Iranians alone. The best world can do is not hurt the democratic aspirations of Iranians who are struggling to gradually institutionalize democracy in Iran and to some extent they have succeeded. After all Iran is a lot more democratic than Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait, Jordan, and other Middle East allies of USA except Turkey. I have seen and have been in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Turkey and have lived most of my adult life in Canada and now in US. Even Ahmadi Nejad’s election is more democratic than Mubarak’s. And furthermore Iranians should take some of the blames for Ahmadi Nejad taking the office. Just like Americans who should take the blame of re-electing Bush and not wonder why people in the world have such a negative view of America and Americans. 20 million Iranians who could have otherwise voted in the last presidential election in Iran and most likely were of moderate aspirations did not. They could have prevented Ahmadi Nejad from coming to power by at the least choosing a more moderate figure. But they chose to not play by the democratic rule and use the limited power of voting they have. I am sure they must be now regretting. They must understand that the reformists are impossible to be worst than current radicals. This is how it works. You want democracy you have to use every bit of it you have. Democratic transformation in Iran does not pass through the road of sanctions and military interventions in Iran. Nor does the road of piece and stability in the Middle East. Well beings of Iranians cannot be planned in Israel or Washington. Their missery surely would. And this is what US wants. Iranians must count on themselves to improve their lives not on US or any other country. Iranians have enough political sophistication to unite in the face of external threat as well.

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By Hass, March 21, 2006 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
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Here come the MEK-MOnarchist brigade to accuse Cole of being a “pro-IRI agent”—how pathetic can you guys get? You’ve spent 27 years in comfortable exile, and in all that time you’ve done NOTHING against the IRI yourselves. You’/re the best “opposition” any mullah could want. And FYI, Cole speaks farsi and was even Bahai, morons.

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By S. J., March 21, 2006 at 11:19 am Link to this comment
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I am startled at Juan Cole’s naiveté.  Clearly, he does not know the culture and mentality of the unique brand of post-revolutionary Iranian Shiite jurists/rulers.  For the latter, the end justifies the means, period.  Khomeini himself has emphasized the point many times, notably in his cancellation of the Muslim required Hajj pilgrimage.  I myself also once heard him say that “even divine monism (tohid) can be suspended when the issue is the perseverance of Islam,” (read the rule of the mullahs.  Thus, it snot bizarre at all, and totally plausible that the ruling clerical elite i Iran would cooperate with the devil himself in order to defeat the Us and repel the American threat against the “Islamic state.” 

Moreover, if Juan Cole, as busy as he is, had read the report of the former senior negotiator Hassan Rohani, published in Iran, he would surely see the many instances of deceitfulness throughout the project. The new more radical officials were quite angry with Rohani for publishing the report which they believe, quite correctly, implies the regime’s desire to produce nuclear arms.

I am an Iranian myself and would wish nothing more than for Juan Cole’s optimism to be true.  However, as careful as the clerics are in Iran, they have left enough evidence.  Besides, one has to take into account the whole past 27 years and the culture of the elite leadership.  Optimism is different from naiveté, and although Bush has been wrong in many instances, he is on the mark about the regime in Iran.

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By Ali Akbari, March 21, 2006 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
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It seems to me the Iranian American Patriot is applying for a job at the whit house, the way he repeats their propaganda. One thing is sure. If the US had ever had a slightest proof for Iranian terrorist activities, we would have seen it in the international bodies. Just because the same lies and accusations are repeated again and again does not make them true. So my suggestion for the Iranian American Patriot is to omit the Iranian from his name and put patriot in quotation marks.

Happy Norooz to all Iranians.

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By An Iranian American patriot, March 20, 2006 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
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The piece by Professor Juan Cole is typical of academic nonsense written by the so-called “experts” on Iran most of whom neither read, nor speak, Persin (Farsi) whose knowledge and view of the Iranian history is shallow at best; in the case of Professor Cole, his views represents those who believe that the present regime in Iran is a pure form of Shii Islam+ third world populism that combined, can resist the hegemony of the West as represented by the USA. 

Having read many of Professor Cole’s and his like-minded comrades views as to what the present regime in Iran represents, Cole seems to be beating on the same dead-horse namely, that Iran (the the other name for this regime), has every right of pursuing the right of the people regarding access to nuclear technology for “Peaceful” purposes because it is a signatory to the NPT.

First, this regime does not represent the Iranian people.  It has never been a representative regime and it will never be.  It is the regime of a bunch of unelected mullahs who have committed prosecutable crimes, including the crimes of international terrorism against many countries. 

Professor Cole does not seem to realize that   it is not one’s signature that gurantees one’s right to access to nucelar technology, but one’s intentions, action, rehtoric and long-term plans that lend credibility to one’s signature.  The present regime in Iran is an international paraiah due to its years of enmity with Iranian people and their national aspirations for democracy, human rights, an slef-determination in peace and prosperity; this regime has rejected every conceivable good and decent structures and institutions that all civilized societies have adapted to their social norms, values. 

This regime is despised by the majority of the Iranian people based on the very words of the top mullahs in Iran who openly threten Iranian youth on a daily basis that if they attmpt to dismentle the regime they will face death and destruction.  To make good on their threats, they hang, on a regular bais, those youths who dare to challenege this regime’s criminal and terroristic actions that include public lashing of teenaged boys and girls, public hanging of yoths and adults, stoning to death of women who have shown their love and affection for others, behading, gauging the eyes and cutting the limbs of those who have committed a wide range of wierd things that this regime has criminalized based on its Jurasick Park mentality.

The likes of Professor Cole usually ignore these stark relaities of the Iranian society as they sit in their ivy league universities and colleges writing a bunch of academic gabildigook whitewashing the crimes of these type of corrupt and terroristic regimes that rule the larger Middle East region in the name of Islam, Nationalist, Socialism etc.

The present regime has been condmned for 51 times by the General Assembly of the UN based on reports that HRC has presnted to the UN doumenting the most blatnet violations of human rights in Iran from the time of Khomeini to the time of ahmadi Nejad.  Yet, Professor Cole has the audacity of supporting this regime’s “rights” to pursue neuclear technology in the name of the “rights” of the Iranian people.

It is not ironic that Professor Cole, like his pro-IRI lobbyists in the academia, closes his eyes on the amount of death and destruction that this regime has inflicted on the Iranian People during the past 27 years, and instead tries to find legal pretexts for this regime to make its case to the world public opinion to the effect that the IRI is in search of “peaceful” (!!??) technology for procuring energy!!  This is a laughable, if not utterly simplistic argument, that a country such as Iran which possess some of the largest amounts of the oil and natural gas reserviors is in need of a tchnology that the absolute majority of the civilized and technologically advanced countries of the world have dismentled as inefficient and environmentally dangerous way of procuring energy.  Worse yet, Cole does not explain why a country in need of such a technology would lie, cheat, and use all kinds of gangester-like strategies to obtain such a technology from the undergound market run by the likes of Abdol Qadir Khan (known as Pakistan’s Father of the Atomic Bomb)?

Finally, Professor Cole, like all other IRI-lobbyists and sympathizers in this country, ignores the fact that one who needs nucelar-technology for “peaceful” purposes, would not make the argument that Iran lives in a region that is filled with atomic weapons, an argument that these mullahs and their supporters have been doing adnausium from the moment that the Iranian oppositional forces have disclosed this regime’s clandestine bomb-making schemes.  How in the world, a technology that is supposed to produce cheap electricity according to these pathological liars, is supposed to deter Isreal from taking action against such a “peaceful” instillation if we follow the logic of Mr. Cole’s representation of Ahmadi Nejaj’s views to that effect?  This is the same guy who is on record that Isreal should be wiped from the face of the earth? 

To make a long story short, the likes of Professor Cole have every right of writing whatever that comes to their mind as the above article, but they have no right of ignoring or whtiewashing the crimes of this despicable regime in Iran under the pretext that because we can’t produce “eveidence” against specific acts of terrorism committed by the present regime in Iran, then it has every right of getting its dirty paws on the most dangeroud weapons of mass destruction, Atomic bomb. 

contrary to Mr. Cole’s absurd logic, there are ample evidences that IRI is the god father of international terrorism and in fact it can pride itself for having invented a wide range of tactics to commit the most leathal form of terroristic acts around the world.  The academic world is filled with Armchair Philosophers who devise all kind of utterly nonsensical theories as to why we can live in peace with terrorists, criminals and gangs of mafia who comprise the likes of the IRI in the Third World provided that we try to “understand” their motives; it takes one Hitler, one Khomeini, and now one Ahmadi Nejad, to prove to these academic simpletons that this mixture is quite volitile and explosive despite our good intentions towards them.  Who said that the raod to hell is paved with good intentions Professor Cole?

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By Hussein Mazloom, March 20, 2006 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Mr. Cole,
You are either extremely naive to think the iranian regime has intentions other than terrorism and pursuit of the nuclear weapons or you think we don’t recognize a paid agent of the regime. I am convinced there is no thrid option. I hope U.S. will not back down from its position and people like you will learn a lesson in what happens when a few mullahs hold 70 million people hostage. i wish to be around for that day. The present clerical establshment in iran will do all it can to stay in power, it will hire people with no integrity, it will bild WMD’s, it will spnsor terrorism, it will kill innocent iranians, etc. I amsurprised this web site published garbage like your comments but again freedom of expression is mandatory in the west, something your types would not understand.
So dear mr. basiji what is your real name?

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By Abol Hassan Danesh, March 20, 2006 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
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Let there be light ...

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By Abol Hassan Danesh, March 20, 2006 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
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Let There Be Light

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By Khashayar, March 19, 2006 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment
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More bravo sierra from the speaker of the Mullahcratic regime, Mr. Cole in the USA

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By Sherry Billy, March 19, 2006 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
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This report by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt of Harvard shows the power of the Israeli lobby (AIPAC) on US foreign policy and the reason for the threats against Iran which is no threat to the US, Perle telling Syria, “you’re next”, and the reason the lobby runs the state department’s foreign policy regarding the Middle East.

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By WarZone, March 18, 2006 at 9:46 am Link to this comment
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Republican Spells Mistake

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By dsm, March 17, 2006 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment
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America’s true agenda in the middle-east:,3604,1036571,00.html

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By Tony Wicher, March 17, 2006 at 12:14 am Link to this comment
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My judgement is that Iran would love to have nuclear weapons. Why not? Once it has them, it doesn’t have to worry about being invaded by the U.S. any more, and can negotiate from a position of relative military parity. Its like Eddie Griffin was saying on the Bill Maher show, “You got a bomb, I don’t got a bomb - ok, $50 a barrel. You got a bomb, I got a bomb too - $120 a barrel. Yeah, nuclear weapons, the old equalizer.

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By anonymous, March 16, 2006 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment
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How is it that anyone attaches even one iota of credibility to anything that our president says?    Name one project, other than what he delivers for his anti-abortion, NRA and assorted other absolutists,  where he’s come anywheres close to telling it the way it really is. 
Invariably the truth (what’s real, that is)  turns out to be the opposite of what he tells us -  Iraq is developing a nuclear bomb (false); there’s no man made contribution to global warming (false);  nobody thought that the levees wouldn’t hold (false);  the Medicare drug plan is the best that we can offer (false): we’re safer now than we were before 9/11 (false)  and so on and so forth.
It’s not just that he’s a liar.  It’s that his lies cost us dearly;  with already more than thirteen hundred of our best and brightest killed in Iraq and with the same number (and still counting)  having drowned in New Orleans when (on account of our president’s criminal neglect)  those levees broke
So what happens next?    We the people either continue to let the president get away with his lies and their bloody consequences or we see to it next November that we elect a Congress that’s going to place the   impeachment of our president as its top priority.  . Change the world, anyone?    How’s that for starters?

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By Snorri Sturluson, March 16, 2006 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
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Am I the only one who sees the recent US saber-rattling as diplomatic cover intended strictly for internal US consumption?  The US and Iran support the same Iraqi Shiite religious parties, and the US war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was also welcome to the Iranian regime.  Since our government has built the Islamic Republic into one of our top official enemies, yet in real life we are collaborating with them, some diversionary posturing seems to be necessary to avoid confusing the home audience.  This seems so clear to me that I am surprised that no one else seems to see it this way.

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By R. A. Earl, March 16, 2006 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment
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Juan Cole wrote: “Although Bush charges Iran with “support for terrorism,” he seems unable to name any international terrorist incident of the past six years that can unambiguously be attributed to Iran.

His baldfaced accusation that Iran is in “pursuit of nuclear weapons” is, as we will see below, not proved either.”

Religious fundamentalists of any stripe need no proof to believe anything. As always, their philosophical “infection” enables them to just make it up then repeat it until it becomes FACT and TRUTH in whatever they’re using for brains.  From that point on there’s no communicating with them on the issue in question.

I sure hope there are enough “uninfected” Americans to defeat these religious nitwits who’ve hijacked your government, and soon. Otherwise, we’re all doomed.

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By Nell Lancaster, March 16, 2006 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
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Re the “IEDs from Iran”:  Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference that there is no proof that the Iranian government is involved.

This is so pathetic, to see the admin trotting out all the same kinds of lies and have so many people swallowing them whole.

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By Hunter W., March 16, 2006 at 10:17 am Link to this comment
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5275 JBIRD ... you just made my point ...

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By Hunter W., March 16, 2006 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
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# 5285 ..pardon ?? Sounds like typical elitist blather ...  Your post didn’t make a bit of sense to me…(guess I haven’t reached your level of enlightenment and sophistication .. thank goodness) I made a simple point that there are alot of anti-American zealots who embrace thier kook conspiracy theories about Bush, Halliburton etc. etc. etc. without ever producing anything factual to prove it. Very simple point.You must really enjoy listening to yourself.

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By abadabadoda, March 15, 2006 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
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Well written piece by Mr. Cole…I consider most of it academic and makes an interesting opposing view on TV shows like Bill O.
To most Persian-speaking people it was obvious the mistranslation of Ahmedinejad “Israel be wiped off the map,” was intentional, this actually happens all the time- conveniently when the topic is about Israel and jews.

Living in the US for over 35 years as an Iranian-American I’ve seen how neo-zionist (euphemistically known as neo-cons) creeping into America in every way and destroying the fabric of this country for what it was established for. I just hope we as Americans wake up to what’s happening in America to regain the American way of life and stop taking Americans as fools and gullible.

Just to clear the air I have nothing against jews. Specially as an Iranian. When I lived in Iran, there were over 200,000 jews and I could not tell if I ran into one- they looked like Iranians with exception of bigger nose if you can believe that and flappy ears. So, I could not have developed any feelings toward Jews. After the revolution, most of them say about 175,000 moved to Beverly Hills and that leaves only 25,000 in Iran. This means on a daily basis Average Ahmed will not be seeing a jew on the street and they would not even know it if he saw one. So why Ahmedinejad talks about Israel and stuff like that. the short answer is that he is a politician. He creates a crisis and uses it to rally around it. Something quite foreign in our politics in America.

Let’s focus on America…

Two final notes…


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By W. White, March 15, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
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Comment by Bill Woolsey (#5274) : ‘U.S. economic prosperity is not based on having oil priced in dollars. The dollar price of oil changes every day, as does the dollar price of the euro.  It is easy to calculate the euro price of oil.  If oil was mostly priced in Euros, it would be the same.’

Actually, Bill, our ‘prosperity’ will be seriously threatened if the world trades oil in Euros instead of Dollars. One major reason countries such as China and Japan buy U.S. Treasury Notes and keep Dollars in its foreign reserves (which is a loan to the U.S., and on which we depend for our ‘prosperity’) is the fact that their oil imports futures are traded in Dollars. (Trading in Euros futures, then trade that in oil futures, as you seem to suggest, does not work.)

Thus, when they can freely trade oil futures in Euros in the new Iranian bourse, many of our creditors will likely slowly switch their reserves from dollars to Euro. Some of this switching is already occuring, by China, Korea and Venezuela. The war, your mortgage, car loans, are financed with low interest loans from these countries. When the Fed bumps the interest up to continue financing our monumental debt, watch out for a serious drop in our ‘prosperity’.

For further information and confirmation, read recent articles by Harvard economist Paul Krugman.

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By AmeriPundit, March 15, 2006 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #5225 by Hunter W.  on 3/15 at 8:03 am

Rather than address the post, the following is apparently considered of sufficient value to a certain breed to take the time to type, perhaps preview, and submit.

WOW ... alot of America haters in here ... #5161 wishes for our downfall .. #5160 trusts in Iran’s leaders over our own .... and there are many posts that should start with “in my opinion” because alot of insults/accusations are thrown around without a shred of proof of anything. ..

While that is completely lacking in providing “facts” and, apparently due to not starting with “in my opinion” is therefore considered “factual” by the author, the “America haters” reference is clearly trumped by the following:

Too many hate Bush/America wannabe conspiracy theorists .. oh to find some intelligent civil discussion/disagreement without all the hate ..

The identification of a man/country is interesting- actually, not really.  It is the stuff of cultists or shills (paid or not).

Those who wish for a discussion filled “with intelligent civil discussion/disagreement…” while writing in that vitriolic fashion should hold up a mirror while casting a stone to see if their house is made of glass.

Apologies for any offense.  Civil enough?

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By julia stien, March 15, 2006 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
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What’s intersting to me about some of these responses is that first Bush’s saying that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which proved untrue. Now Bush says that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, which Juan Cole gives evidence is not true. Haven’t people learned from the Iraq example?

Bush had no evidence for his statements about Iraq and he has none for his statements about Iran. How can people, after Bush was 100% wrong about Iraq,  believe in Bush about Iran? He can’t be believed. In the last weeks books and artcles have come out how Bush, Rumsfield and Tommny Franks even had disasterous war plans in Iraq that led to this current bloody fiasco.

Why would people ever believe a man who is so totally inept? Who never gets the evidence right. When evidence is given Bush, he ignores it. He couldn’t even help New Orleans. Bush isn’t going to offer any protection to Israel. Get real. He’s too inept to do that. He lives in a fantasy world which has got this country into deep disaster in Iraq. This present Bush policy against Iran will prove as much of a disaterous as his idiotic policy in Iraq.

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By jBird, March 15, 2006 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
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Hunter W at #5225, you’re an idiot…

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By Bill Woolsey, March 15, 2006 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
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I wouldn’t assume that ending the “occupying regime” means an end to the occupation of the West bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.  I suspect that it means an end to the occupation of all Palestinian territory.  In other
words, pre-1967 Israel, or even what the UN gave to Israel.

Perhaps I am in error, but I think the Iranian regime has continued to be a “rejectionist state” insisting the the formation of a Jewish state on Muslim land has always been unacceptable.  I think the goal is to reestablish a Muslim state in the entire territory. 

Generally, the “frontline” states have been willing to deal with Israel to get territory back.  Syria appears open to a deal.  But the states further away have stuck to “principle.”

The Arab nationalists wanted back the lands of the Arab Nation.  The Islamists take a different tack.  They want it all back under Islamic rule.

Turning all of the territories currently inhabited by Jews into some kind of nuclear wasteland (wiping Israel off the map) isn’t what is proposed.

It is rather having a special state for Jews is
the Palestine (anywhere close the the ancient land of Israel) is opposed.  Jews, in general, can live in an Islamic state.  I’m am not certain what treatment the current citizens of Israel could expect if their state was destroyed, but it isn’t obivious that Islamists (including Iranian ones) would insist on expulsion of anyone.  I do think that all of those Arab farms and olive groves would go back to the previous owners.

P.S.  U.S. economic prosperity is not based on having oil priced in dollars. The dollar price of oil changes every day, as does the dollar price of the euro.  It is easy to calculate the euro price of oil.  If oil was mostly priced in Euros, it would be the same.

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By Mohammad Ali Reza, March 15, 2006 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
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Having lived in America and Europe and now living back home in Iran it is very easy for me to see all the sides to this “Iran nuclear problem”. The rabid ignorant redneck that has a bumper sticker that reads “Nuke Iran”, yes I know you, and may even have met you. The liberal college educated boomer that knows exactly what Bush is all about and makes regular donations to Greenpeace, yes, I know you also, and have met you. And yes, I also know you the investment banker Bush voter that deep down knows it’s about oil and believes it should be “ours” so as to be put into its most productive use so you can make a good return on your stockholdings.

But, what you all need to wake up to is this simple fact: If Bush starts dropping bombs on Iran it will instantly create 70,000,000 Iranians into enemies of America. One single bomb will be considered a declaration of war and every Iranian that still calls Iran home will find a way to take revenge. Be it a year from now or a generation from now. America will eventually pay for the crimes it has committed and continues to commit. The most important step Americans can take is to go into the streets and demand regime change in America! Because it is your outlaw regime that is the problem.

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By Micheal Pasinovski, March 15, 2006 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
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Watch this video and be amazed of how less you know about our government.

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By Hunter W., March 15, 2006 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WOW ... alot of America haters in here ... #5161 wishes for our downfall .. #5160 trusts in Iran’s leaders over our own .... and there are many posts that should start with “in my opinion” because alot of insults/accusations are thrown around without a shred of proof of anything. ..  Too many hate Bush/America wannabe conspiracy theorists .. oh to find some intelligent civil discussion/disagreement without all the hate ..

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By E.T. Spoon, March 15, 2006 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
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We, meaning the United States, meaning the Bush Administration, meaning fundamentalist Christians and American Zionists, do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons because Israel already does.

End of story.

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By Gary Woodman, March 15, 2006 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
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It’s all a storm in a teacup (otherwise known as a manufactured casus belli). If the Iranians want a nuclear arsenal, they don’t have to create it from scratch themselves; they can buy raw materials, parts, or more-or-less complete weapons, from the Pakistani black market, the Russian mafia, or perhaps soon, an un-treatied India, with George Bush supplying the knowhow and John Howard supplying the uranium. There is going to be a banquet of ironies soon; pity Americans will starve.

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By fieldlab, March 15, 2006 at 5:35 am Link to this comment
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What amazing hypocrisy and double standards the conservatives are twisting around to find a way to criticize Iran. Forget about whether Iran wants nukes. US conservatives have surrounded Iran on all it’s borders with either standing armies controlled by an openly hostile US leadership, or rouge states like Israel and Pakistan which themselves brandish nukes which are NEVER questioned. Iran has every right to defend itself against the horror of US wars or US sponsored civil wars, and nuclear parity is their best option. It is also the example offered repeatedly by the US and its subservient allies.

So US conservatives can absolutely blame themselves for any nukes built by Iran. Mad cow must be eating your steak fed brains, you freaking hypocrites. You destroyed whatever credibility you might have had.

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By refusedig, March 15, 2006 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
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Bush is all about politics money and power. And he is stupid. (I say this because anyone who has that much trouble with his native language is stupid. “Yale, Harvard,” you say. I say, “stupid.” He doesn’t read. No one that language deficient could possibly be reading anything other than—well, nothing; maybe the sports page.)

So, we come to Iran. Remember: politics, money and power. Approval rating in he 30s? Election coming up? Ah Ha! War. Iran. Attack.

So, we attack Iran; just bomb the shit out something, oh, say around September, 2006. (Rumsfeld: “I love the smell of burning Iranians in the morning.”)

October’s poll Q.: “Who do you think is better able to protect America’s helpless women and children from rogue terrorist states such as Iran and Hades, Republicans or Democrats?”

Don’t think they won’t. Bush and gang are criminal. They cannot, and, I dare say, will not permit a house of the U.S. Congress to begin investigating and subpoenaing them.

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By Mojgan, March 15, 2006 at 2:14 am Link to this comment
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In respond to Comment # 5157

Rafsanjani NEVER called for annihilation of Israel . This is the link to Rafsanjani’s speech :

Did anywhere in his speech Rafsanjani say that Israel SHOULD be annihilated? Did he say that he wants to Annihilate Israel? Did he say that Iran wants to annihilate Isreal ?

What he said was the fact that *** IF ***there is a nuclear*** EXCHANGE *** in Middle East , due to Israel’s Small size ( Which Israel always use as an excuse to occupy her neighbors land ) Israel will suffer more than any other country .

Your historian , Daniel Jonah Goldhagen , must have been peddling his own genocidal agenda .

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By Arash, March 14, 2006 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment
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in reply to Comment #5140 by Wayne on 3/14

So just a wild thought how bout iran or korea or russia or japan or iraq or palestine any of these countries that in the past 50 years us has invaded dropping a nuke on the united states to get their respect kill a few millions ????? is that they way all americans think well if they do then america is nothing but a big high school fully of bullys.

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By Duck of Death, March 14, 2006 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment
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The people of this nation were brought up on american mythology, buttressed by John Wayne, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris movies. It will be its undoing. In regards to Iran, the cure sounds worse than the disease. If either the US or Israel hits Iran, whats to stop them from seriously disrupting the worlds already tight oil market? How long will our ‘house of cards’ economy survive $8 a gallon?

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By dan, March 14, 2006 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment
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The context of the Iranian president’s remarks makes it even clearer that he is talking about the elimination of Israel. Note he speaks about “the occupying regime of Qods [Jerusalem]” having been established by “the world oppressor [the United States].”  Israel was established 20 years before east Jerusalem was occupied.  Therefore the vanishing of that regime = the vanishing of the state of Israel, not the end of the occupation of Jerusalem.  He even congratulates the conference on its name {“A World Without Zionism”}. He also reassures his listeners that it is possible to have a world without the United States as well.
Is this a pacifist who will work toward “the vanishing” of the “occupation regime” through Gandhi’s methods? I think not.

The quote is below, to be found at html?ex=1142485200&en=60861e175f00885c&ei=5070

////////The establishment of the occupying regime of Qods [Jerusalem]was a major move by the world oppressor [ the United States] against the Islamic world. The situation has changed in this historical struggle. Sometimes the Muslims have won and moved forward and the world oppressor was forced to withdraw.

Unfortunately, the Islamic world has been withdrawing in the past 300 years. I do not want to examine the reasons for this, but only to review the history. The Islamic world lost its last defenses in the past 100 years and the world oppressor established the occupying regime. Therefore the struggle in Palestine today is the major front of the struggle of the Islamic world with the world oppressor and its fate will decide the destiny of the struggles of the past several hundred years.

The Palestinian nation represents the Islamic nation [Umma] against a system of oppression, and thank God, the Palestinian nation adopted Islamic behavior in an Islamic environment in their struggle and so we have witnessed their progress and success.

I need to thank you for choosing this valuable title for the conference.

Many who are disappointed in the struggle between the Islamic world and the infidels have tried to spread the blame. They say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan.////////////

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By Hal, March 14, 2006 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
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Sorry, but this isn’t about some premature centrifuges or even about a Hezbollah skirmish with Israel.

I ‘m no pro at Mid East analysis but it doesn’t take one to spot Cole’s amateur night fishing. Saber rattles from corporate cartel run D.C. and 10 Downing are all about the money.

Big Oil money.

It’s about a planned Iranian oil bourse that would sell oil off in Euros instead of worthless fiat Federal Reserve Notes. You know, those counterfeit little paper notes printed by an unconstitutional private bank monopoly better known as the “Federal Reserve” Corporation (that is not federal and has no reserves but a cooked Ponzi sting).

The west’s private, cozy cartel mob has force-fed the world worthless fiat paper in trade for real debt along with goods and services for so long the mob thought it could maintain the monopoly forever. But a freeloading cartel has to fall apart somewhere.

That somewhere is a perfect storm called the Mid East where oil is a commodity more precious than gold. So it’s one cartel vs. another (OPEC). Those in charge of Iran and other nations in the Mid East may be corrupt, fanatical and occasionally violent but they are far from fools. Many of them have been educated at Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, etc, where cartel history was not taught thru the usual channels. Regardless, they know private central bank scams including the one at the “Federal Reserve” Corp.  And they want to break the parasite wide open.

The reality is, the Mid East owns real wealth. That wealth is one irresistible tool that could put an end to the rule of a parasite cartel that owns the west. Iran intends to use that tool. This is the story nobody wants to talk about. But it’s driving everything out of puppet brothels at D.C. and 10 Downing.

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By Todd, March 14, 2006 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment
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From USA Today “The Liberal Baby Bust”

This dynamic helps explain the gradual drift of American culture toward religious fundamentalism and social conservatism. Among states that voted for President Bush in 2004, the average fertility rate is more than 11% higher than the rate of states for Sen. John Kerry.

Thank Goodness!!

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By Patrick, March 14, 2006 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
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Jim Dwyer said:

“I’ll never understand why this point matters. Acceptance or non-acceptance of the “Official Party History” is one of the hallmarks of the Bolshevik/Stalinist era. People went to jail for it back then, just as they are today.”

think harder.  This crap about ‘Official Party History’ is just that.  I realize alot of people are upset at Austria, but I think Austria and Germany are special cases.  In most other countries I don’t think it would be appropriate to ban the speech in that way, but you might think of these ordinances as both protection against the long standing and obviously dangerous (in Germany and Austria) Anti-Semitic movement in Europe, and a recognition and partial reparration for the evils done in those two countries.  That might not be a good enough reason to ban speech, but it is a decent one, and in no way implies that we are at all like the Soviet Union was.  Part of the problem with there being a real ‘Official Party History’ was that there were other plausible worthy views that were being excluded by threat of violence, from the public debate (such as it was).  That is not the case here.  The reason why people are almost universally derided for being Holocaust deniers is that it is a position so without merit that the only reason that someone might accept it is either that they are (a) massively ignorant (b) terribly stupid or (c) an Anti-Semite.  The reason why his being a Holocaust denier is important in this context is that we can rule out that the President of Iran is either (a) or (b), so it is reasonable to assume that he is an Anti-Semite.  It is very bad to have explicit Anti-Semites in control of a government, especially a government close enough to Israel to lob bombs and missles at it.  That said it is probably true that most of the leaders with whom we are allied are Anti-Semites, they are simply not as public about it.

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By W. White, March 14, 2006 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
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Comment by Okie (#5123): ‘This month Iran will open a market to sell oil for euros.  If the world can buy oil for euros, why would the world want to use the rapidly depreciating dollars…’

No truer words have been written. The Iran conflict is about the Euro based Iranian commodity market for oil, stupid. Yet, how many stories have you read in the press, about denominating oil in Euro vs the Dollar, and why it is so devastating to the U.S.?

If Americans want to topple the Iranian regime in order to continue borrowing from China et al to finance a lifestyle to which it is addicted, then do so honestly. Denying the truth about oneself is neither honorable nor ever really successfully accomplished.

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By Erik, March 14, 2006 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
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Wayne’s comments pretty much say it all—the proper American attitude is might makes right. Power politics, pure and simple. There are no standards of conduct—only the use of power with occasional diplomacy if it might achieve the same results.

That is why Wayne can seemingly avoid a few other salient facts: that the Americans overthrew an elected government of Iran in 1953 and kept a rather unpopular Shah at the head of the country for 25 years.  But all Wayne can see are American hostages.  And about that Saddam character: the man was responsible for killing quite a number of Iraqi citizens, no doubt.  But when was that actually happening?  Some of the worst of it was in the early 80’s, and the US knew about it, and didn’t care.  In fact, Reagan was only too happy to take Iraq off the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, either in 1982 or ‘83.  But, but, but, but—this man was killing his own people!

Why don’t people like Wayne just give up the pretense of law and admit that power is its own justification?

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By Afshin, March 14, 2006 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
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Here is the link to Ahmadinejad’s speech in Farsi as some here requested:

All who know Farsi know what it means. 

Thanks for Dr. Cole clarifying it.  The word by word translation “The regime that is occupying Jerusalem should be cleared from being present [or existance]”

There is nothing in it that says anything about map or country of Israel.

The translation (not word by word right) is here

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By searp, March 14, 2006 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment
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I have never understood why the Iranians have been off limits for all these years.  I know about the embassy hostages, and was as outraged as anyone else.  I know about Iranian covert ops (read Bob Baer’s book, it is good).  However, it seems to me that we simply make things worse at this point by refusing to have normal diplomatic relations.  We end up creating another Cuba.  Regime change didn’t work there, and it won’t work in Iran.

It is easy to distrust the Iranians on nuclear technology, harder to understand why anyone would think that the first option, the very first option, is military action.  Why not do a Nixon goes to China thing?

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By Ali, March 14, 2006 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
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A okay article to begin with. All usa media is run by few, only 2 political party running usa, and both supported by AIPAC so who ever pleases AIPAC will certainly be next president and control the senate and house. USA is digging a big hole, and poor soldiers are paying the price with there life. Regarding Iran, if the religious leaders has openly condemed nuclear weapons, then rest assured they will not make one. Probably that’s the reason why USA is so bold, knowing Iran has not one and will not have one. Try your luck with north korea or india. Poor Iran, I feel sorry for that country.

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By Afshin, March 14, 2006 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
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Hi James, There was no undeclared nuclear projects in Iran.  The only violation of NPT that is attributed to Iran is a small enrichment of uranium apparently to test some enrichment equipment which based on Iranian claim they forgot or didnt know they had to declare.  A technical voilation at best.  Since then it has come out that Egypt and South Korea did similar things recently, in case of South Korea the enrichment was to the level of highly enrichment(HEU). In Iran’s case the enrichment was low level and in miligrams I think.

IAEA (and US) were aware of all the sites and infrastructure Iran was intending to build.  As a matter of fact the Isfahan and Natanz sites were contracted to be buid by Chinese and Russians but under US pressure they canceled the contracts in the 90’s.  Iran decided to build those sites on their own and they did so, they were under no obligation to report building those sites until they were ready to introduce fissionable materials. Although they build these sites secretly, they didnt violate any agreement.  The reason they give why they build them secretly is because US would have done something to prevent them to finish. They actually beleieve US broke its commitment to NPT by pressuring Russia and China from completing those projects.  There is alot more about all of these written by Dr. Gordon Prather.

Another thing even though I don’t agree with Ahmadinejad’s many policies Dr Cole is right about what Ahmadinejad said here is his full speech translated

the exact persian word he used is better translated to wiped, vanished or cleared rather than “wiped off the map” which means a geographically located place and never mentions Israel or occupiers but occupying regime.

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By Duane, March 14, 2006 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment
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The WORLD should be working together to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons or technology for weapons. It seems this would prevent a possible nuclear war in the Middle East with Israel from ever happening. If all nations work together on this then no bombs will ever drop because of this issue. And I don’t believe any of this is about oil or dollars either. Iran does want nuclear weapons and more importantly, they would want to use them!

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By crusader bunnypants, March 14, 2006 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
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Is Israel going to give up its secret nookular program or Weapons of Mass Murder? Is the USA?


This isn’t about WMDS, or Israel, but the US $ and the Iranian Oil Bourse. The US Government deserves its downfall, so do the US Citizens!

Fluff up your feather pillow and keep that tar on the back burner. World Revolution is coming!

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By felicity smith, March 14, 2006 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
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Yet again Mr. Bush is throwing out outright lies.  The present top man in the Iraqi government said yesterday that Iran is not flooding Iraq with IED’s or personnel.  In a recent speech Mr. Bush left out the word “not.” I’m beginning to think that Mr. Bush is a pathological liar.

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By Neal, March 14, 2006 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
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I question the main assertion in the article.  According to the article, From an Iranian point of view, the Americans are simply being unreasonably aggressive.  Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei has given a fatwa or formal religious ruling against nuclear weapons, and President Ahmadinejad at his inauguration denounced such arms and committed Iran to remaining a nonnuclear weapons state.

Professor Cole may be a bit out of date.  This is what historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen wrote on March 2, 2006 in The New Republic: And now, in the context of the current crisis, after years of withholding their support, Iranian clerics who follow Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual adviser, have ominously issued a fatwa justifying the use of nuclear weapons.

So much for Cole’s theory.

Goldhagen, prior to the noted point, also indicates, with reference to Iran and the bomb - and note the statement by the allegedly moderate Mr. Rafsanjani -:

No less than three successive Iranian presidents have publicly called for the annihilation of Israel and the effective mass murder of hundreds of thousands or millions. Falsely depicted in this respect as an Iranian “radical,” Ahmadinejad’s call to “wipe Israel off the map”—together with Iran’s insistent drive to develop nuclear weapons—echoes the “moderate” former president and current Iranian power broker Hashemi Rafsanjani’s more elaborate account from December 2001 of the Iranian political Islamic leadership’s underlying thinking. “If, one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill, because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.” Here Rafsanjani is dispassionately thinking through the implications of a genocidal policy in which one nuclear bomb dropped near Tel Aviv would effectively destroy geographically tiny Israel. He gladly declares to his nation and the world that the costs—including hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Iranians dead as a result of nuclear retaliation from Israel’s invulnerable nuclear-armed submarines—would be worth it.

Are these calls for genocide real, as Goldhagen believes them to be, or are such calls just talk that are not even worth a comment from Cole? Well, according to Goldhagen, the Iranian thinking is as follows:

A renascent and ascendant Muslim world would first acquire nuclear weapons and thus attain parity of power with the West. Then it would annihilate Israel. Aided by global Islamic forces (there are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world), which are already showing their strength in Europe, political Islam would proceed to assail the West, weaken it, and ultimately subdue it.

If Goldhagen is correct, the world is dangerous not just because the US is meddlesome but because the Iranians and others have a very dangerous, genocidal agenda.  Would it not make sense for Cole, if he believes his own position, to explain why Goldhagen’s evidence and argument is wrong rather than asserting the best case for his position - in this case, evidently, overlooking a fatwa in Iran allowing the use of nuclear weapons -?

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By Andreas Gegenwarst, March 14, 2006 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
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The majority of ordinary Americans are ignorant about the real issues hidden behind Iran’s nuclear agenda: the Iranian Oil Bourse. Unfortunately, the mainstream media in America plays in favor of the Bush Administration; therefore, they live in a bubble of lies which are feed with so much propaganda of fear (i.e. the “War on Terror”).
Just remember what Abraham Lincoln once said: Perhaps Americans who might read this post will start to have second thoughts about Bush and his policy towards Iran
Here I’m enclosing a link to a very informative article about the Iranian Oil Bourse by William Clark.

Article found at :

Original article :

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By dan, March 14, 2006 at 11:42 am Link to this comment
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“The occupation regime” is one of the ways these deeply hate-filled societies avoid using the name “Israel.” Another one is ‘the Zionist entity.” When they refer to the occcupation, they mean Tel Aviv as well as Ramallah. Governments that recognize Israel, such as Jordan, mean the West Bank and East Jerusalem when they refer to the occupation. Iran is certainly not among them.

The meeting at which the Iranian president called for “the occupation regime” to “vanish”  was a conference entitled “A World Without Zionism.”  Zionism is the idea that the Jews, like any other people of the earth, are entitled to a state of their own. For some reason it must have been inconvenient for Mr. Cole to mention the name of this conference.
As for the relevance of Holocaust denying, the parallel is to those racists in the 20th century (thankfully rare now) who claimed slavery was not a bad institution. They denied the suffering of African Americans and portrayed them as infantile beings who benefited from their masters’ kind concern. After the Civil Rights movement these racists deviated from what one poster called “the party line” just as Holocaust deniers do today. 

Should anyone concerned about racism trust someone who denies the facts about slavery?  Similarly, should anyone concerned about the use of atomic weapons against civilian populations trust someone who denies the genocide against the Jews that has already happened?

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By Brandon, March 14, 2006 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
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Why would the Iranian government turn down a Russian offer for already enriched Uranium for Nuclear plants?  This would seem to solve many problems for Iran with regards to a possibly ostensible civilian power program:
-It will cut down on the time it takes to obtain enriched uranium.
-Allow Iran to have nuclear plants without a fear of non-complience by Israel/US.
-Remove excuses for US/Isreal to ratchet up efforts for a military strike of some kind.

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By Michael, March 14, 2006 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
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If Iran wants the bomb, they will get it one way or the other so the whole argument seems moot at this point.  There is enough missing plutonium out there for the taking that why even build a reactor becomes the question.

The NPT is a piece of paper - a joy joy Chamberlain/Hitler type of flash in the pan agreement without substance.  It means nothing - even the US is in violation of the treaty. So why bring it up.

The US has enough domestic problems that we are not facing, nor can we muster enough fortitude to face and it seems that pointing the other way is just another means to hide and cover our own faults. 

Perhaps it might be better for the US to tend to home matters first and then issues outside its borders later.

I grew up during the Viet Nam build up – I’m hearing the same style rhetoric only different names are used.  I’m hearing the same fear mongering, but now it is in the Middle East and not Asia. 

If Iran has ‘the bomb’ idealizations, so be it for they also know the first time they flip one, the world will use like in kind and there will be no Iran.  If they want simple energy – let them build reactors and they too will find out what a mess it is to upkeep and maintain.  But, to create a world wide shouting match - my gawd. 
Me thinks the man (both of them) protests too much.

If Iran cannot be trusted, who is to say the US can be trusted?  Both sides are now calling each other the culprit and that reminds me of kindergartners. 

In short, what exactly is the problem?

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By Jason Eckelman, March 14, 2006 at 10:31 am Link to this comment
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Regarding Comment #5140 by Wayne: This, to me, is the crystalization of everything wrong with this country right now. 9/11 ripped the scab off every xenophobic, racist impulse brewing below the surface of American culture, and the horrific attack of that day on innocent US citizens is now used to justify all manner of horrors perpetrated on (primarily innocent civilian) foreign citizens by the US abroad. It is not up to the US to decide which countries can to exist, and which can’t. Every country can be spun into a “threat” when the right propaganda is applied. Will this country ever be run by adults again?

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By Wayne, March 14, 2006 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
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I’m sure that you are very uncomfortable with the idea of another American war.

Little inconvenient facts like: Afghanistan being an absolute quagmire with thousands of dead American soldiers by now at the hands of Saddamn-supported Taliban and AL Qaeda insurgents, the fact that most of the weapons and funding support for the current insurgency in Iraq is coming from Iran, or that Iran has aided and abetted Al Qaeda in escaping Afghanistan don’t ever seem to register on some people’s radars.

Saddamn was killing tens of thousands of his own people every month, but we’re the viscous evil murderers of Iraqis.

All wars may be bad but I’m absolutely sure that future history will tell that the attempts to free the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan AND HOPEFULLY IRAN from the tyranny of dictators and Islamofascists will be better than any alternative. Not only for them but for us as well.

Places where one day suicide bombers have no basis of support and no way to operate and places that don’t end there meetings with chants of “Death to America” are places that are not a threat to us and our descendents.

That last alone is reason for us to go to war with Iran. Not to mention the 444 days our citizens remained as hostages from OUR OWN EMBASSY. This outrage and act of war has has never answered and if we are to have the true respect within the culture of the Middle East, 911 and its various similar acts and these Iranian facts must be answered with our righteous fist.

Like the Japanese, we did not seek war with these people but in order for us to have a freindship and proper respect like we do now with the Japanese we must educate them in the manner we did the Japanese: we squash their violent ambitions like a sledge hammer flattens a mosquito. This is the best and only true way to acheive peace with passionate,prideful, and ignorant societies.

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By Lynn, March 14, 2006 at 9:41 am Link to this comment
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Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect and monitor its nuclear energy research program, as required by the treaty. ..........Tehran denies having military labs aiming for a bomb, and in November of 2003 the IAEA formally announced that it could find no proof of such a weapons program.

Which is more than can be said of what the IAEA is allowed to inspect in the UK (signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and staunch ally of the U.S.), as stated in 2003 by the then Energy Minister.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can carry out limited inspections of only Britain`s civilian and not military nuclear facilities, Energy Minister Stephen Timms has revealed.
“The IAEA can designate any UK civil nuclear facility, or any part thereof, for safeguards inspection visits but has no right of access to nuclear material required for national security and sites such as Aldermaston” where nuclear weapons are made”

Full text at :

This weekend, it was revealed that the “UK develops secret nuclear warhead”

“BRITAIN has been secretly designing a new nuclear warhead in conjunction with the Americans, provoking a legal row over the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Article at :,,2087-2081800,00.html

It very much seems to be the case of the pot calling the kettle black - again.

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By ben, March 14, 2006 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
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As a long-time reader of Juan Cole’s, I always value his contributions.  Juan argues that it would not be rational for Bush + Co to bomb Iran—that the consequences would be too negative for the U.S. in Iraq and around the world.  But might this be a faulty assumption?  Bush seems to operate on his own gut feelings and perhaps even divine revelations.  I fear that he will bomb Iran within a year.

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By HJM, March 14, 2006 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
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It’s trully is as Juan C. translates. I’m from Iraq and have lived in Iran for 4 years. There are no wise politians in US for a long long time. They are looking for another Iraq,

Juan only forgets 1 realy important fact:

Iran wants to open the 3th oil bourse in the world. It will be the end for US$. Go and google about it en the its effects. Its an eye opener.


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By scout29c, March 14, 2006 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
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I think we need to address what I see as the elephant in the room.  Rather than some idealistic injection of democracy or individual freedom in the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam, Bush has caused a change in the balance of power among literally age-old rivalries: Persian vs. Arab, Shiite vs. Sunni, and all against the Jews.

We may be dealing with Bush and his Neocon foreign policy wonks little experiment in the Middle East for the rest of the century.  Just like in the previous century, WWI which led to WWII, the atomic bomb, and the Cold War, all started with that little trouble in the Balkans.  The Bush noble but naïve involvement in Iraq may have the lasting effect that he had hope but nothing like what he anticipated. 

While Mr. Cole does not believe the Iranians are really trying to obtain the bomb, the perceived threat is against other Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, rather than the U.S. or Europe.  How many Wahabis will move across the border to aid their Sunni brothers?  Can Turkey allow a independent Kurd state across their border?

Have they located accessible flat roofs in the Green Zone, from which helicopters could leave in a hasty, emergency exit?

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By Erik, March 14, 2006 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
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This whole flap over Iran just shows how much we are willing to impose standards on others that we refuse to impose on ourselves.  Go take a look at a map.  To the east of Iran are: Afghanistan, where there are about 25,000 US troops, and Pakistan, an ally of the US with nukes.  To the north is Uzbekistan, which is allowing the US to use airbases there.  To the west is Iraq, with 150,000 US troops. To the northwest is Turkey, a powerful US ally.  To the south is Qatar, Doha, etc., with substantial forces.  And let’s not forget about Azerbaijan, to the north, where Donald Rumsfeld has been spending a bit of time lately. And then, of course, there is Israel, with the biggest open secret in the world - its nuclear weapons capabilities.

So, Iran is surrounded. It has every right to feel paranoid, and it’s plain that this administration is doing everything to try to provoke them.  To say that Iran is a “threat” is to implicitly ignore the enormous threats faced by Iran.  It should be hardly surprising that Ian might have an interest in developing nukes.  Any country that is so obviously threatened would be looking into ways of defending itself, and North Korea has proved that one of the best ways is to have nukes.

To argue that Iran should stay out of Iraqi politics is to once again apply standards to others that we do not apply to ourselves.  What is the US’s role in Iraq if not to interfere in Iraqi politics?

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By M. Bakhtiar, March 14, 2006 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
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You said it all and thank you!

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By Tirdad Bozorgmehr, March 14, 2006 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
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I wonder if you may direct me to a web page someplace that would have the original text of the Ahmadi Nejad’s speech in Farsi, with the reference to wiping Israel off the face of the earth in it.

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By Ali Rezaei, March 14, 2006 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
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As an Iranian i’d like to say that Mr. Cole has once again missed the mark on the Islamic dictatorship.  Whenever there is any opposition the current dictatorship Mr. Cole runs to their aid and defense.  Similar to the bloodsuckers who defended the Savak Mr. Cole is a bloodsucker who defends the current dictatorship to the teeth. He’s naive, arrogant, and often dillusional.

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By Jeff Moskin, March 14, 2006 at 7:35 am Link to this comment
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A good article, but it misses the real reason BushCo will bomb Iran. It is the same reason BushCo invaded Iraq.

That reason is the decision to trade oil for Euros rather than Dollars.

The US finds itself in the enviable position of being the sole printer of the sole currency now accepted globally for oil purchases. It costs the Fed 2.3 cents to print a $100 bill, yet China, India, and every other world trading partner must acquire this money to buy the oil it needs. We buy DVD players from China with money we print for pennies…because BushCo make the rules. Nice work if you can get it, but not entirely fair.

Saddam agreed to take Euros in Sept 2000. He did so until he was overthrown by BushCo in 2003. BushCo quickly reverted to using only Dollars.

Hugo Chavez has been threatening to take Euros; he survived a BushCo/CIA coup attempt a few years ago. He has not mentioned Euros since then.

Which now brings us to Iran, which, while not a nuclear threat is a very real financial threat to the US Dollar monopoly. If the Euro were to compete with the Dollar as a World Reserve Currency, the Dollar would drop in value (think: Argentina). BPaying for oil is the Dollar’s primary use, because America has outsourced so much of her manufacturing we have little to sell.

The coming attack on Iran, like the invasion of Iraq, is really about Dollar Hegemony. All the rest is BushSpeak.

And we know what that is.

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By Linda Shaw, March 14, 2006 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
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I’m an old woman without the historical background of those on this page, but Juan Cole is my first read each morning.

I have watched the United States vilify its “enemies” all my life, beginning with Castro.  Now I learn that Milosevic was probably painted worse than he was, certainly Saddam Hussein, Hugo Chavez and this latest—Ahmadinejad.

So I have developed a rule of thumb, especially after watching the Bush administration make villains of even its domestic critics:  If the President and his people say bad things about someone, it’s very likely propaganda and requires information from independent sources.

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By Okie, March 14, 2006 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
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I have a guess as to the “other motivation.”  New York and London have the only world markets to buy oil, and they both price oil in US dollars.  This month Iran will open a market to sell oil for euros.  If the world can buy oil for euros, why would the world want to use the rapidly depreciating dollars that the Treasury and Fed Reserve crank out by the billions every week?  And if the world doesn’t need our dollars any more, that will put a painful end to our trade and budget deficits.  The last person who sold oil for euros was Saddam Hussein.  When the US, Britain and Israel finish with Iran, its new market will be gone or will convert to selling oil for US dollars.  Then a smiling President will give us a double thumbs-up and say, “Mission accomplished!”

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By Matthew Rensen, March 14, 2006 at 4:58 am Link to this comment
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There are so many things wrong with the authors way of thinking I don’t know where to begin. All the retoric and verbage does not preclude the fact (well founded belief) that the Iranians are not our friends, they are not to be trusted, and once the have nueclear weopons they will use it. Their sole purpose is to destroy Israel, murdering millions, and they don’t care how many Moslems they kill in the process, after all, they will be martyrs.
If Iran is allowed to continue WWIII will commence.

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By Hilding Lindquist, March 14, 2006 at 4:30 am Link to this comment
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Re: Comment #5099 by Joe Citizen on 3/13 at 5:03 pm

In considering the influence of evangelical Christians (I was raised as one as a child), we have to remember their belief in the end times prophesy of the re-establishment of the State of Israel and the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The scarey part is their belief in the Battle of Armageddon (taking place in the Middle East) to defeat the forces of evil.

Ring any bells?

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By Steve, March 14, 2006 at 12:42 am Link to this comment
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Informative article.

You say “In some ways, by invading Iraq and destabilizing it, as well as fostering the rise of Shiite religious parties in Baghdad, the Bush administration has inadvertently strengthened Shiite Iran’s hand”

Yes, but one can go much further. People need to understand that the Iraq invasion has not only strengthened Iran’s hand it has CLEARLY DESTABILIZED IRAN and pushed it away from liberalization and towards anti american policies. 

And America’s confrontational attitude ensures this will only continue.

This more than the mess in Iraq may be the lasting disasterous legacy of America’s “sloppy and callously executed” invasion.

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By Andrea, March 14, 2006 at 12:01 am Link to this comment
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Cole correct. Almost all the world knows Iran is no threat, compared to the vast nuclear arsenal of the Brits, France, China, Russia & us. One wonders, there are at least 20 other nations that have worst human rights records. Look at Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, in Africa many countries with genocidal regimes, Burma, etc. In fact, now Afghanistan is a narco state, with close to 90% of worlds heroin production. Also, look at nukes of Inida, Israel, Pakistan & North Korea. Dozens of inspections at Iran’s nuclear plants. We need a peace initiative with Iran.

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By Ruth MacDonald Wilson, March 13, 2006 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
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James #5096 mentions “the smoking gun” of Iran. When did Iran start shooting at anyone recently? I know that it is just a figure of speech, but I worry that we will all absorb more of the prejudicial content of the rhetoric about the Arab world from this administration than we would like to.  Has anyone noticed how loosely the word ‘enemy’ is used by the Republicans when talking about Iraq? It seems that Juan Cole’s deep knowledge of the Middle East and its languages is the advantage that helps him produce his excellently rich analyses of situations over there. To much of Washington’s plans and policies about the ME are based on what they want to get out of wars and other manipulations of them, not JC’s depth of understanding…Unless the admin. knows as much as Juan does about the Arab world, but just LIES meticulously and monumentally to us.

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By deRougemont, March 13, 2006 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
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Hasn’t anyone thought about the economic side of the Bush push for regime change RIGHT NOW rather than in a few years?  The UAE just switched a portion of its reserve to euros. (To punish the US for renaging on the port deal?) Iran is set to switch to euro based currency around March 20.  This would devalue the dollar.  Remember, one of the first things Bush did after mission accomplished in Iraq was to switch back the oil base from euros to dollars.

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By Arash, March 13, 2006 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment
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Well iam an iranian who lived in canada for the past 6 years and unlike most iranians who left iran after the revolution my family just came here for a better life and education all due to the sanctions that the U.S government has slapped on iran for the past 25 years sure they made living hard in iran for some but you have to remember that since its creation in 500-600 Bc ira was never occuped exept twice once by alexander the great for about 50 years next time by mongols again for about 40-50 yaers it was the king of iran who freed the jews from the egyptions and helped them build the wall in juresulam, so my point is comes under pressure from outsiders the people of iran forget who their guverment is shah, islamist or watever else they come together to protect their people and their land. and i ask you americans and westerners to please get your facts before you judge and start talking and supporting bush iran with a history of 3000 years hasent killed as many people that the united states from its creation or even in the past 50 years. but besides all that you think you have democracy in the west but all you really have is 100 tv channels that feed you what your government wants you to think fear iran fear middle east or anything else that is in their intrest just a thought for all you to consider did you all know that the united states naval forces in perasian gulf DESTROYED an iranian passenger plane in the 1980’s during iran iraq war killing over 250 people and they called it an error they thought it was a threat when we all know how a 747 looks and it can not posses a threat and it was going trough its civilian air road over the gulf and they got no warning they just got shut down but okay EVEN IF IT WAS A MISTAKE WHICH IS IMPOSIBLE THEY BROUGHT THE GENERAL OF THAT SHIP BACK TO THE STATES AND AWARDED HIM SO AFTER MANY THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE IRANIANS TO RESPECT AND TRUST THE AMERICANS WOULD YOU TRUST US IF WE HAD DONE THE SAME TO YOU .

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By W. White, March 13, 2006 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
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Joe Citizen wrote (5099), ‘...serious analysts have attributed the winning margin of victory to Mr. Bush’s success at winning key segments of the Jewish vote.’

Israeli influence in America is not exerted through the miniscule Jewish vote; it is exerted through the power of the purchase dollar. This is how the mechanism works:

U.S. tax payors give five billion, more or less, to Israel every year. Much of this money is channeled back to the U.S. defense industry, in which the neocons are heavily invested. Well-known examples are the Bush family and the Carlyle Group, and of course, Chaney and Halliburton.

You might say that we are paying for our own misery. The situation drips with bitter irony.

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By Joe Citizen, March 13, 2006 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment
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Mr. Cole’s news about what the Iranian president really said about Israeli occupation—as opposed to the translation we have all heard about wiping Israel “off the map”—is quite a revelation, if true.

I have to wonder: couldn’t US pressure on Iran give Iran even greater incentive to cause trouble in Iraq and further undermine—at this crucial, very sensitive time—US and Iraqi efforts to achieve political stability?

I also have to wonder to what degree current US foreign policy is deterimed by domestic political considerations. Although much focus has been given to the decisive role played by evangelical Christians in the last election, some quite serious analysts have attributed the winning margin of victory to Mr. Bush’s success at winning key segments of the Jewish vote.

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By Jim Dwyer, March 13, 2006 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
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Unlike his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier.

I’ll never understand why this point matters. Acceptance or non-acceptance of the “Official Party History” is one of the hallmarks of the Bolshevik/Stalinist era. People went to jail for it back then, just as they are today.

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By James, March 13, 2006 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
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If I didn’t know any better, I would make a quick conclusion that Mr. Cole is an Iranian sympathizer.  However, I am grateful that pieces like that of Cole’s are still published in some form in the media.  This is a well-written piece with a lot of information never seen from the mainstream press.  I would have never known about the translation error by the American media regarding the Iranian president’s words about the “occupation regime.”  It’s subtle things like these we need so badly in the mainstream press to give a fuller picture of what is going on in the world.  Again, I would have written off Cole as an Iranian sympathizer.  It’s hard to do so after reading this eye-opening piece.  Although, I do have one criticism: Cole seems a bit quick when writing off Iran’s nuclear capabilities.  Was the secret nuclear project (not mentioned to the IAEA) nothing more than a civilian project with no surreptitious underpinnings?  The article makes sense when things like these are not considered too seriously.  However, this article does not go out of its way to show with absolute certainty that Bush and Co. are entirely wrong.  Yes, the president of Iran can take a course in public relations.  But, surely, within the context of al-Qaeda’s influence in the Middle East, the uprising Shia, etc., can we just write off the smoking gun of Iran as nothing more than Bush and Co.‘s ability to raise hell?

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