Bankrupt and Audacious

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich(CASMII Columns)
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How can a morally bankrupt nation induce the world to punish a law-abiding state and by so doing, violate not only international law, that of the nonproliferation treaty (NPT), but the Geneva Conventions? Sanctions are warfare. It cost Iraq over half a million innocent lives, a genocide, in preparation for the ‘shock and awe’ that was to come. America and her co-conspirators violated all Geneva Conventions when the sanctions were imposed – lives were snatched -“collateral damage” they called it. This rogue state, America, in violation of all laws, God’s and man’s, is dictating to the world, demanding that all countries join it in its march towards more infamy – total moral bankruptcy, to claim yet more lives.

After receiving marching orders from Israel’s Olmert, Dick Cheney mocked the NIE and put the CIA Chief Michael Hayden on parade. In line with this White House wishes, Hayden said he ‘believes’ that in spite of the NIE findings, Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb[i]. It seems that the CIA, the agency created by Truman in 1947 to gather intelligence and “other functions” has concentrated so much on “other functions” that it seems to lack all the intelligence. A more recent example is CIA chief, William Casey. A Catholic Knight of Malta, who during the arming of the Afghan mujahedeen at times even confused the difference between the Catholic organization such as the right wing Opus Dei with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood[ii]. According to Johnson (2006), the CIA operatives have planted false information in foreign newspapers, covertly fed large amounts of money to allies, had clandestine agents devote themselves to tasks such as depressing the global prices of agriculture products in third world countries, engaged in assassination of foreign leaders, coups, sponsored guerilla warfare, and so on. While the rendition flights of the CIA has shocked the world over, using the CIA’s secret airline is nothing new. Air America, used until 1976, had flown weapons and supplies into, and heroin out of, Laos during the Vietnam War[iii]. How credible is the CIA especially given that this White House has a taste for war?

Hayden’s bases his assessment on Iran not buckling under the weight of illegal and immoral sanctions and continuing with its inalienable right within the framework of international law to pursue alternative fuel. Contrary to popular belief, Iran’s weakness is its oil and gas industry - Iran’s livelihood. Saad Rahim, an analyst at Washington consultancy PFC Energy claims that Iran needs to diversify its energy needs in addition to a change in its policies, otherwise, "Iran's net crude exports could fall to zero."[iv] The government is aware that it needs to change its subsidy programs but given the policies of the day, it is not acting on it. As Ebrahim Sheibani, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, has warned, “Something needs to be done otherwise…[the subsidies will] lead to an unfettered rise in consumption.”[1] Various statements from Iranian government officials often justify the development of a nuclear program by pointing to the limited supply of energy sources as well as the export value of oil. Iran’s former negotiator to the IAEA, Salehi explained, “The best use that a country like mine can make out of its uranium ores is to replace oil as a primary source of energy…within two decades most of our oil production will be consumed internally, leaving nothing tangible for export.”[2]

Even environmentalists who had once shunned the nuclear industry, now hail it as a solution to global warming and there is growing cooperation between them and the nuclear industry (The Economist) [v]. Another reason for Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy is the adverse effects of oil consumption on the environment. Given that Iran’s industries use oil for energy, the contamination is not limited to the air, but sips into the water and soil with dire consequences. Numerous rivers and coastal waters have been contaminated and drinking water supplies have been threatened. Moreover, a deputy head of Department of Energy (DoE) for human environment has been quoted by the Iranian Fars news agency as saying that oil pollution has a negative impact on farm products which can in turn effect the human life cycle. For this reason, a new plan has been implemented to screen crops for oil pollution, specifically those obtained from farmlands located in south Tehran[vi].

Iran’s nuclear energy program would result in the development and nurturing of new and unprecedented capabilities for building technological infrastructures, as well as the cross-fertilization and diversion of nuclear-related know-how, research, and development into other industries and branches of science, such as medicine and agriculture. On every continent nuclear and radiation techniques are put in the service of humankind. Recently, it was witnessed that due to a problem with a Canadian nuclear reactor that produces medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer and cardiovascular disease, patients in Canada, U.S. and other countries had their tests and treatment postponed [vii]. In South America, nuclear technology is being used to map underground aquifers, so that water supplies can be managed sustainably. The Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) which was changed to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of the negative connotations associated with the word nuclear in the late 1970's would be explored to diagnose and treat patients. In Vietnam, farmers plant rice with greater nutritional value that was developed with IAEA assistance – rice is also the staple food of Iranians. It is these components of nuclear technology that are the fundamentals of ‘Atoms for Peace’.

During much of the Qajar period (1870’s to the 1920’s), the rivalry between Russia and Britain, deprived Iran from development. At the time, railroad was a key economic factor (similar to the role that nuclear technology is today) to the development of the country, but the powers opposed a trans-Iranian railroad because they thought it would threaten their expansion. When the railways was finally built, it exploited Iran’s resources. One of the concessions granted by the Persian government to the (Russian) Discount and Loan Bank of Persia for the construction of the railway line Julfa-Tabriz (1913) is as follows: The line gage is Russian. The time of concession is 75 years. The Persian government has the option of redeeming the railroad after the expiration of 35 years; in this case it pays back all the capital that has been spent plus 5 per cent interest, provided the concession has yielded so much. The concession grants the bank the right to exploit coal and oil deposits within 6o versts on either side of the railroad, and also to construct branch lines leading to the mines. Pavlovich 1913, p. 143)[viii].

Adding insult to injury, during World War II, the occupying forces of the British, Russian (and American) made use of the railroad free of charge. The Persian Corridor, or “Bridge to Victory” against Nazi Germany as it was called, provided a vital link for war supplies in one direction while at the same time serving as a humanitarian passage for Jewish and Polish refugees, many of whom arrived in Iran by crossing the Caspian in ships that had delivered supplies to ports in Baku, Azerbaijan or Krasnovodsk, and Turkmenistan (Burgener 1997)[ix]. The ‘allied’ forces in line with Winston Churchill advice, forced the man who had built the railroad, Reza Shah Pahlavi, to abdicate and leave the country. Iran was defeated in another fight for independence when its democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq whose nationalization of oil was opposed by the British, was removed by a CIA-backed coup.

Today, once again, Iran’s independence and sovereignty is threatened –with false allegations made by America and Israel, the international community has been trapped in a web of indecency and inhumanity, and with every threat that has been used to spin this web, we see a violation of international law and the laws of the Geneva Convention. The UNSC members, either dazzled by the silk threads, or inadvertently glued to the sticky thread, refuse to remove themselves from the immoral actions of the U.S. government and fail to realize that they too will become victims unless they tear away from their captor.

As to the spider that so skillfully spins the web - For those who listened to the President of the United States lead this nation to a war with Iraq based on 16 words of lies, with CIA’s chief, Tenent standing by him, it is worthwhile understanding which nation may have inspired the idea.“After the 1967 war, France stopped supplies of uranium to Israel. These supplies were from former French colonies of Gabon, Niger, and the Central Africa Republic. Israel had small amounts of uranium from Negev phosphate mines and had bought some from Argentina and South Africa, but not in the large quantities supplied by the French. Through a complicated undercover operation, the Israelis obtained uranium oxide, known as yellow cake, held in a stockpile in Antwerp. Using a West German front company and a high seas transfer from one ship to another in the Mediterranean, they obtained 200 tons of yellow cake. [x] Not much later, Ariel Sharon, an outspoken proponent of “Greater Israel” was quoted as saying, “Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”(Farr 1999[3])[xi]. While the neocon media paints a doomsday picture triggered by Iran, leading us to another bloody and senseless war, there are far more precarious scenarios which are kept hidden from the public. The probability of Gush Emunim, a right wing religious organization, or others, hijacking a nuclear device to “liberate” the Temple Mount for the building of the third temple is quite realistic. A 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against a religious, right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious recruitment in the military increases.[xii] Avner Cohen has stated: “It [Israel] must be in a position to threaten another Hiroshima to prevent another holocaust.”[xiii] Israel is in that position and has no moral qualms about exercising it.Among his accomplishments, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard obtained satellite-imaging data of the Soviet Union, allowing Israel to target accurately Soviet cities. This showed Israel's intention to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent political lever, or retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union itself. With its German supplied Dolphin submarines, it is unstoppable. Yet, it insists on the annihilation of Iranians. It also has a political lever against Europe. Has it used its leverage so that like Iraq, Iran too can be annihilated? Has the international community been subdued, or has it become too hard to question what is morally right?

[1] “Subsidized Energy.” Iran Daily. 8 Mar 2005. <http://www.iran-daily.com/1383/2231/html/focus.htm>

[2] State Department. “Iran’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities: A Pattern of Peaceful Intent?” <http://www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/international/20051113iran.pdf>

[3] All references relating to Israel are from Warner D. Farr, LTC, U.S. Army The Counterproliferation Papers, Future Warfare Series No. 2, September 1999USAF Counterproliferation Center ,Air War College ,Air University Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama The Third Temple's Holy Of Holies: Israel's Nuclear Weapons

[i] http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-hayden31mar31,1,7121846.story?track=rss


[ii] Chalmers Johnson, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic” Metropolitan Books, NY 2006

[iii] Johnson Ibid. Alfred M. McCoy, “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade” (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991); http://www.air-america.org/index.html;

[iv] Businessweek. “Surprise: Oil Woes in Iran” 11, Dec. 2006. Online Edition. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_50/b4013058.htm

 

[v] “Nuclear Power: The Shape of Things to Come?”. The Economist. July 9th-15th 2005: 58-60

[vi]Panorama’ Iran Daily on Line, 2 February 2006 http://www.iran-daily.com/1384/2491/html/panorama.htm

[vii] CBC News. “Shortage of isotopes used in medical tests could stretch into January:Radioactive material used to diagnose cancer, cardiovascular disease” Dec. 5, 2007 Downloaded Dec. 8, 2007http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/12/05/nuclear-isotope.html

[viii] M. P. Pavlovich: The Great Railway and Maritime Lines of the Future, St. Petersburg, 1913, p. 143.

[ix] This is a an excerpt from "On Borrowed Wings" by Robert D. Burgener on the activities of the Allied forces in Iran during World War II. The first of a series of documentary videos on this subject -- "Tales of the Persian Corridor - Bridge To Victory; World War II supply route through Iran bridged colonial past and Cold War future, written and produced by Burgener, posted on iranian.com on November 3, 1997

[x] Weissman and Krosney, 124-128 and Raviv, Dan and Melman, Yossi, 1990, 198-199.

[xi] Gaffney, Mark, Dimona: The Third Temple? The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation (Brattleboro, Vermont: Amana Books, 1989), 165

[xii] Blanche, Ed, “Is the Myth Fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 1.” Jane's Intelligence Review, 8, no. 12 (December 1996), 547-550 and Blanche, Ed. “Is the myth fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 2,” Jane's Intelligence Review 9, no. 1 (January 1997), 25-28.

[xiii] . Cohen, Avner and Miller, Marvin, Nuclear Shadows in the Middle East: Prospects for Arms Control in the Wake of the Gulf Crisis (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990),