A Busy Few Weeks on Board the Bomb Iran Bandwagon

Is Iran capitulating to pressure or was the uranium transfer deal never the issue in the first place?

It’s been a busy few weeks on board the bomb-Iran bandwagon.

It wasn’t quite gunboat diplomacy, but President Obama sent missile “defence” equipment to the Persian Gulf, a move Iran dismissed as a “puppet show.”

The Pentagon then tried a test-run exercise, responding to a theoretical Iran attack.  The test flopped.  (Peaceful protests by Americans against the testing resulted in multiple arrests and reports that police “roughed up” protestors.)

The US Senate has backed new sanctions against Iran, while the vice President Joe Biden declared that “Iran is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.”

But then we hear of a possible about-turn from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . . . what the Independent calls “curiously mixed signals.”

Laura Rozen reports that even Japan is trying to help move negotiations along now.

But those who see this as evidence of Iran capitulating to pressure must first back up the assertion that Iran was blocking the uranium transfer deal in the first place.

Beltway insiders Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett dissect the negotiations so far.

Meanwhile, the “opinion makers” in the US are swinging firmly into the anti-Iran camp.

Last week in Newsweek, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas, (who also played a big part in persuading Colin Powell that it was time to act against Iraq) declared that it’s time for regime change in Iran.

His colleague at Foreign Policy outlined why he thinks Haas is wrong, while Time magazine ran a slightly more nuanced analysis of the situation.

The New York Times also jumped squarely on the bandwagon in an editorial; that opinion was dissected here.

The bluntest anti-Iran piece came in the Wall Street Journal.  Under the headline “Seven Myths About Iran,” the Journal tries to construct a narrative that attacking Iran is perfectly reasonable, theoretically and in practice, and would have no ramifications in the real world.

“Myth Number 1,” according to the Journal, is

“Military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities would accomplish nothing.”

The Journal’s breathtakingly glib response: 

“Maybe so, but what’s wrong with buying time?”

In the real world, an attack on Iran would do a great deal more than just “buy time.”

For a much more thoughtful — and intelligent — conversation about the myths and realities surrounding the Iran question, see here.

Teymoor Nabili is an award-winning presenter and correspondent based in Kuala Lumpur.  This article was first published by The Middle East Blog of Al Jazeera under a Creative Commons license.

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