Friday, March 21, 2008


George Bush seems intent on demonizing Iran and Iranians. Yesterday he opined that Iran has expressed its intentions on developing an nuclear weapon and using it to kill its enemies. Robin Wright writes in today's The Washington Post:

"President Bush said Thursday that Iran has declared that it wants to be a nuclear power with a weapon to "destroy people," including others in the Middle East, contradicting the judgments of a recent U.S. intelligence estimate."

Where is Bush coming up with this paranoia? The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate came to the conclusion that Iran stopped a weapons development program at least five years ago in 2003. Yet Bush, and also Dick Cheney, continue to insist that Iran poses a dangerous nuclear threat.

"They've declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people -- some in the Middle East. And that's unacceptable to the United States, and it's unacceptable to the world," Bush told U.S.-funded Radio Farda, which broadcasts into Iran in Farsi."

It looks like Bush is merely parroting the hard-line neo-con Israel view that Iran must be destroyed. Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon with money and contributions, no doubt because Hezbollah consists of fellow Shiites, in contrast to the majority of the Arab world which is Sunni. Hezbollah has made no secret of its animosity towards Israel. Thus Iran becomes in Israel eyes a serious "enemy."

But American military and intelligence analysts dispute Bush's point that Iran is developing or wants to develop a nuclear weapon.

Robin Wright reports:

"Experts on Iran and nuclear proliferation said the president's statement was wrong. "That's as uninformed as [Sen. John] McCain's statement that Iran is training al-Qaeda. Iran has never said it wanted a nuclear weapon for any reason. It's just not true. It's a little troubling that the president and the leading Republican candidate are both so wrong about Iran," said Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation.

"Others said it is unclear whether the president believes what he said or was deliberately distorting Iran's position.

""The Iranian government is on the record across the board as saying it does not want a nuclear weapon. There's plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions. But it's troubling for the administration to indicate that Iran is explicitly embracing the program as a means of destroying another country," said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran specialist at the State Department until last year and now at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center."

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