Behind the Campaign For War Against Iran
Countering The Threat of a New Middle East Conflict
By Mark Weber
In recent years prominent American politicians and other influential public figures have spoken repeatedly of the alleged danger of Iran’s nuclear program, and have again and again threatened war against this Middle East nation of 75 million.
With support from pro-Israel politicians in the US, Israel’s prime minister has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran if it develops even the capability of building a nuclear weapon. President Obama and other high-level politicians, together with much of the US media, have been echoing Israel’s threats and alarmist claims. In addition to belligerent rhetoric against the Tehran regime, the Obama administration enforces severe economic sanctions against Iran. If Iran does not halt its nuclear energy program, the US president threatens, “all options are on the table” – including bombing, nuclear missile attacks and even invasion.
A recent Gallup public opinion poll shows that most Americans regard Iran’s nuclear energy program as a “critical threat” to “the vital interests of the United States” -- a view that mirrors the belligerently anti-Iran tone of the mainstream US media, and the harshly anti-Iran rhetoric of vocal public figures.
How real is this “threat”? How dangerous is Iran? What’s behind the campaign for war? And what does all this mean for Americans?
In fact, the so-called Iran “crisis” is artificial. It’s every bit as phony as the one manufactured to provide a pretext for the calamitous war against Iraq, which took thousands of American lives and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and brought untold destruction, suffering and death to many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Often ignored amid the clamor for war are the sober warnings of informed scholars, historians, specialists, analysts, and military leaders, who point out some basic, key facts: Iran is not building nuclear weapons, Iran is not a threat to the US, and Iran’s leadership is neither irrational nor suicidal.
As even high-level US intelligence officials have acknowledged, there is no evidence that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. (Iranian leaders have always insisted that their nation’s nuclear energy program is entirely peaceful.) James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, for example, has expressed “a high level of confidence” that Iran has no nuclear weapons program – an assessment that reflects the consensus view of 16 US intelligence agencies.
Israel and pro-Zionist politicians in the US threaten Iran not because it might be developing nuclear weapons, but because the Islamic Republic forthrightly opposes Zionist occupation and aggression, and steadfastly supports Palestinian freedom and resistance to Israeli hegemony.
Behind the campaign for war is shameless hypocrisy and brazen gall, because Israel itself has a large, secretive stockpile of illicit nuclear weapons, routinely defies international law, occupies conquered lands, and oppresses millions.
The sad reality is that US policy in the Middle East is driven not by what’s best for Americans and the world, but rather – as even the US ambassador to Israel has acknowledged -- by concern for Israel's security and identity as a Jewish ethno-religious state. "The test of every policy the Administration develops in the Middle East," says ambassador Daniel Shapiro, “is whether it is consistent with the goal of ensuring Israel's future as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. That is a commitment that runs as a common thread through our entire government."
US hostility toward Iran, and Washington’s unique, blank-check support for Israel, are the result of the Jewish-Zionist grip on our nation's mass media, political life and educational system. For many years now the American public has been systematically misinformed by a minority dominated media, and misled by political leaders who put partisan interests ahead of what's good for Americans and the world. So blatant have US politicians become in their scrambling for Jewish-Zionist support that even a prominent New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, has been moved to comment on how politicians, of both major parties, “grovel for Jewish votes and money.”
Just as the 2003 Iraq war was, in large measure, a war for Israel, a new US or Israeli war against Iran would likewise serve only narrow, Zionist interests. For everyone else – including Americans – such a war would be calamitous.
War is not the answer. What’s needed instead is a bold new reality-based approach toward Iran. That’s also the considered view of former British foreign secretary Jack Straw, who says that even if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon, it would not justify going to war. It’s worth recalling that throughout the decades of rivalry and often tense conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, even when the two great nuclear-armed powers seemed to be on the brink of cataclysmic war, the United States always remained in direct communication with the Soviet leaders, and never broke diplomatic relations with Moscow. This prudent policy helped greatly to avoid a disastrous military showdown.
It’s also worth recalling that in 1972 the US set aside a 23-year-long legacy of bellicose rhetoric, tension, mistrust and even military conflict with Communist China to open a new era of normalized relations. If President Nixon could meet and shake hands with Mao Zedong, leader of nuclear armed Communist China, and Presidents Roosevelt and Truman could meet and shake hands with Soviet dictator Stalin, why can’t a bold and courageous American president open a new era of non-belligerent relations with Iran?
Raising public awareness about the dangerous push for a new Middle East war, and the formidable power behind that campaign, is an important task of the IHR. We don’t just oppose war. We forthrightly identify and counter those who promote, justify and propagandize for war. In lectures, interviews, meetings, and broadcasts, as well as through books, discs and leaflets, we’ve been highlighting the malevolent power that’s pushing for a new war, and its harmful hold on our political and cultural life.
As part of this effort, I made two recent visits to Iran. These expense-paid visits -- in September 2012 and in February 2013 -- included many useful discussions with Iranian scholars, students, journalists and officials that helped me to much better understand the views and outlook of both the nation’s leadership, and of the general public, and the prospects for war and peace.
Highlights of these visits included a guest appearance on an influential prime-time public affairs television show, a meeting with the nation's President, a well-received two-hour lecture on "The Zionist Lobby in America" given to a gathering of several hundred Tehran university students, and an address to an international conference in Tehran titled “Hollywood’s Agenda, and the Power Behind It.”