Monday, October 8, 2007

Scott Ritter on Iran

I've been trying to write a post on Iran that would compare the rhetoric with the reality, but I haven't been having much success in making it coherent. Now I see that Scott Ritter has written what I meant to say:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), mandated to investigate Iran’s nuclear programs, has concluded that there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, the IAEA has concluded that it is capable of monitoring the Iranian nuclear program to ensure that it does not deviate from the permitted nuclear energy program Iran states to be the exclusive objective of its endeavors. Iran’s support of the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon - Iranian protestors shown here supporting Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an anti-Israel rally - while a source of concern for the State of Israel, does not constitute a threat to American national security primarily because the support provided is primarily defensive in nature, designed to assist Hezbollah in deterring and repelling an Israeli assault of sovereign Lebanese territory. Similarly, the bulk of the data used by the United States to substantiate the claims that Iran is a state sponsor of terror is derived from the aforementioned support provided to Hezbollah. Other arguments
presented are either grossly out of date (going back to the early 1980’s when Iran was in fact exporting Islamic fundamentalism) or unsubstantiated by fact.

The US claims concerning Iranian interference in both Iraq and Afghanistan ignore the reality that both nations border Iran, both nations were invaded and occupied by the United States, not Iran, and that Iran has a history of conflict with both nations that dictates a keen interest concerning the internal domestic affairs of both nations. The United States continues to exaggerate the nature of Iranian involvement in Iraq, arresting “intelligence operatives” who later turned out to be economic and diplomatic officials invited to Iraq by the Iraqi government itself. Most if not all the claims made by the United States concerning Iranian military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been backed up with anything stronger than rhetoric, and more often than not are subsequently contradicted by other military and governmental officials, citing a lack of specific evidence.

Ritter is one of the people who said that the Iraqi WMD claims were lies, based on his time as a U.N. weapons inspector, and he was right. He was attacked by the right-wing, but some of us knew he was telling the truth. Now, as the drums are beating for war with Iran, we need to listen to him. Please read the whole thing.
Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of numerous books, including “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005) , “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2006) and his latest, “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement” (Nation Books, April 2007).


Jess Wundrun said...

Thanks for posting this, I wouldn't have come across it otherwise.

Do you see the irony in renewed interest in nuclear power here in the US, while at the same time we need to deny it everywhere else?

How can it be 'clean' energy if to use it we have to deny it to 98% of all other countries on the globe.

I know that the debate centers around building weapons and not about nuclear power. I have been told that the difference in these two nuclear paths is about as different as a two-stroke engine v. a V-12 w/computer chip technology. But we have no problems blurring the distinction.

And since what we really know about nuclear technology in the middle east is that the US and Israel have no ethical difficulties in bombing reactors, I don't see how we can with a straight face, try to have this discussion with our adversaries.

I realize this little rant is tangential to what you are saying. Sorry. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest. Coffee's ready.

pygalgia said...

True that. When it comes to nuclear energy, I prefer to let Sweaterman do the analysis, as he has much more expertise than I do. I tend to focus on the politics, but you're right that the energy issue is important.