Iranian Media Accuses CNN Of Falsely Reporting Rouhani’s Acknowledgement Of The Crimes Of The Holocaust

220px-Rows_of_bodies_of_dead_inmates_fill_the_yard_of_Lager_Nordhausen,_a_Gestapo_concentration_camp220px-Hassan_Rouhani_official_portraitThe appearance of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani before the United Nations created an outpouring of rare positive coverage for the country when he gave an interview with CNN where he was quoted as condemning the Holocaust. The world celebrated the possibility that the extremism of the Iranian government might be subsiding. It seemed like a fresh start after the vehemently anti-Semitic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, the Iranian government has now moved to deny the comments — God forbid that its president would acknowledge (let alone condemn) the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis.

What is interesting is that CNN says that it used an interpreter supplied by the Iranian government. That interpreter said that the Holocaust as a “crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews” and called it “reprehensible and condemnable.” What is equally notable is that Rouhani largely repeated his comments in a meeting with news media executives on Wednesday.

None of that matters. Many Iranians were irate over the statement of sympathy. The semiofficial Iranian news agency Fars promptly called CNN a liar and denied the key portions of the quoted interview.

Yet the comments were made after Rouhani was specifically asked by Amanpour if he shared his predecessor’s belief that the Holocaust was a myth. He started in an evasive manner that it was up to historians to judge the “dimensions of the Holocaust.” However, he added “In general, I can tell you that any crime or — that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people — is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.” The Iranians insist that he did not use the words “holocaust” or “reprehensible.” It said that he used the word for “historical events” just as Ahmadinejad used to do.

CNN has responded by airing the actual interview with the words of the interpreter to show that it fabricated nothing.

What remains is a public display of the commitment of the Iranian government to an ahistorical, anti-Semitic account. The move to deny the comments are particularly telling in how well-received they were internationally and how unpopular they were internally. The divide between Iran and the rest of the world is clearly not just historical.

48 thoughts on “Iranian Media Accuses CNN Of Falsely Reporting Rouhani’s Acknowledgement Of The Crimes Of The Holocaust”

  1. No, you apparently aren’t hearing me. You mistake disengaging from someone utilizing dishonest argumentation as a victory lap. You moved the goalposts. There is no reason to engage you further, Po.

  2. You should have simply stopped at point conceded.

    I didn’t bother to read the rest of your rationalizing moving the goalposts in any kind of detail.

    1. Your not reading the rest, Glenn, does in no way invalidate my points. One can be right even in that which one is wrong, and my conceding you a point does in no way invalidate the total of my argumentation, nor does it validate everything you said, it just acknowledges the validity of one single point you made.
      You may take that point conceded to you and run laps around, or use it as a sign of good faith and HEAR what I am saying. Obviously I have heard you, have you heard me? If you haven’t then our interaction of 2 days and countless hours was an exercise in futility.

  3. “What I do want is for someone to give me a good, legitimate reason to deny Iran’s uranium enriching, whether it results in a nuclear bomb or not, that doesn’t revolve around Israel, and that takes in consideration the fact that US, Russia, France, Israel, India, Pakistan have nukes.”

    “Obviously one cannot address Iran’s nukes in detail without bringing up Israel at some point!”

    Well? Which is it? Where do you want the goalposts? Usually I just chew up and spit out people who try that crap. It’s amateur hour tactics.

    I have given you two very good reasons to deny Iran nukes and elaborations thereon. Which you agreed with in the most part. Then you moved the goalposts by conditioning fairness hinging upon Israel – which in fact is looking for an answer that revolves around Israel. I get enough fallacious reasoning and bad argument around here as it is. I see no reason to continue this if you’re simply going to keep moving the goalposts. You wanted two good legitimate reasons. I gave you two good legitimate reasons: the inherent problem of allowing any theocracy to be a nuclear power and the principles of non-proliferation and deescalation of regional tensions.

    1. You know what, Gene? I concede that point!
      It is obvious to me that my mistake was to try to address the validity of your arguments (the 2 reasons you provided), on their own merits, and thus on your terms. I could have responded to them by pointing out that though you haven’t invited Israel to the party, I could see her shoes beneath the closet door. Out of politeness, and out of methodology (I tend to answer specific points before ultimately circling back to the larger issue), I didn’t. I can see how I cheated the process thereby, and I can see how you may see it as argumentatively dishonest. I accept it, those were my words and those were my arguments.

      However,I certainly could reinforce my point that stating the impossibility of discussing Iran’s nukes without bringing in Israel is based on the fact that our issues with Iran, whatever they are, are either caused or magnified by its antagonistic relationship with Israel. It is therefore impossible, at least implicitly, to ignore the ever-present elephant in the room, Israel.

      I could also bring up in a more obvious manner that to which I referred in my last post: though you gave me 2 reasons that apparently don’t have anything to do with Israel, both actually do.

      1-The theocratic nature of Iran of Iran to which you object is ALWAYS referenced in relation to Israel’s characteristic as “the sole democracy in the middle east.”

      2-Additionally, the issue of regional tensions on which you base your second argument is also fallacious, for the simple reason that you cannot make an argument based on the deterioration of regional/ geopolitical tensions brought about by Iran’s nukes without bringing in, if not the main reason, one of the main reasons behind such increase in tensions.
      Sure, Russia would not appreciate an increase of nukes near its borders. Yet, it is the Soviets themselves who helped Iran with the seeds for whatever nuclear program they do have right now. Secondly, there are no obvious tensions between Iran and Pakistan, or any appreciable role played by Iran in that dysfunction between India and Pakistan. It is thus apparent that if Iran were to join the nuclear club of that region, it would not change anything drastically in terms of the existing tensions involving those nations you mentioned, outside of Turkey, which I agree, might be more ticked off because they would feel at a disadvantage.
      Now had you added Israel to that group dynamics, you would have done 2 things:
      1- you would have been more forthcoming about the real existing and planned problems of Iran’s nukes by laying out all of the issues and actors on the table, including she who shall not be named
      2- you would also have made my point more obviously of the impossibility of ignoring Israel as both the leading lady AND supporting actor in this drama.

  4. I thought we were considering the theater sans Israel, Po.

    That was the goalpost as originally set by you.

    Now suddenly, the fairness of Israel having nukes comes into play?

    Ehhhhhh . . . that’s more than just a technical foul in your argumentation. If you want to move it now, that is your choice, but moving the goal posts is a logical fallacy in itself. To try to change the rules this late in the game seems more than a bit dishonest.

    Also, the fact that sanctions have brought part of Iran’s government to the table seems to belie the notion that pressure to stop their nuclear program is having no effect and is bound to fail.

    1. Gene
      Obviously one cannot address Iran’s nukes in detail without bringing up Israel at some point! You may say that I set the goalposts (challenge would be a better word I may say) that asked for a couple of “legitimate” reasons to deny Iran the “right” to have nukes. I felt safe raising that challenge for the simple reasons that for as long as I have been following the Iran nuke debate, I have yet to hear two “legitimate” reasons that did not involve Israel, implicitly or explicitly.
      I give you credit for trying, for your reasons , though illegitimate in my eyes (no, it is not a matter of semantics;although I have not specified the meaning of legitimate as first stated in my challenge, a quick coursing of my timeline would show that I meant it in terms of fairness, not in relation to Iran as a theocracy, or Iran as a denier of the holocaust), are at least well reasoned.
      Yes, I brought up Israel for it is the most relevant example of the point I am trying to make. Who is Iran avowed enemy? No, before the US I mean? Israel. Who is pushing relentlessly for an attack on Iran? Israel. What issue do we always bring up in relation to these crazy Iranians? They denied the holocaust. How did we frame Rouhani in relation to his predecessor Ahmad? He did not deny the holocaust! I mean, not really! Who is Iran framed as a danger to? No, not the US. And yes, to Iran! What do our congressmen and senators say as reason we should attack Iran? Because their having nukes would threaten Israel!

      I Certainly could have used the example of Pakistan, as I did previously, but since Pakistan is not an avowed enemy of Iran, my point that one cannot ask one side to disarm while the other side isn’t wouldn’t make any sense.

      Let me walk it back then! I take back the Israel comments I made previously.Although in that case, my issue with fairness, or lack of is less salient, it still stands.

      Regarding your second point that the sanctions are bringing Iran to the table, Iran has always hung by the table. Whether Clinton or Bush, and Obama’s first term, and as recently declassified documents have shown, at least unofficially, we have always been talking to the Iranians, and they have always been trying to ease the sanctions against their country. No sanctions alone will stop Iran from enriching uranium; at least that is the consensus among Iran “experts”.

  5. You assume a concurrent process of mutual disarmament is or even can be instantaneous, Po. There are two problems with that. One, technical disarmament of a nuclear weapon takes time. You don’t just yank a board here or a fuel core there. It’s dangerous precision work. One wrong move and you have detonation. Two, scale. The total number of nuclear weapons between the US and the former USSR alone is a staggering number especially when combined with a complex process. Add to that inspection and verification regimes that would be required for mutual disarmament to work. It takes decades to put down the brick when deployed on that scale simply as a practical matter. The first step has to be non-proliferation and by its nature that is going to preclude letting smaller countries become nuclear powers in the first place. The US and Russia are working on the process already, albeit not very hard or with much diligence. And until we scale back our arsenals to a commensurate level with that of China (a very distant third in active warheads), we have no chance of bringing China to that table either.

    Everyone has to (for practical reasons) put down the bricks slowly, but in the mean time, we can’t let any more kids pick them up even if they are tiny bricks by comparison.

    1. Obviously, I don’t expect it to be instantaneous. I do understand the timeline required for the process to be carried on. It is also obvious that in order to prevent more nukes coming onto the scene, one would have to prevent more nukes coming onto the scene.
      My issue is more of a philosophical nature, in that there is general consensus that nukes are bad, therefore let’s not allow any more of it coming in, however, there is no pressure on those who already have it to actively work on getting rid of it, other than essentially, on a volunteer basis.
      In order for Iran, and any other country for that matter to be legitimately dissuaded from getting nukes, the system should provide them with assurances of fairness, and the only real way to do that is to show them. Otherwise, some have it, some don’t, thereby putting those who don’t on an unequal footing in global affairs.
      If the US, and the world, addresses the matter of Israel’s nukes, acknowledges them and demands some sort of disarmament, it is thus much easier to dissuade Iran from pursuing their own (if that’s the case) when they are no longer threatened that Israel will drop nukes on Tehran.
      It is as simple as that. But to continue threatening them with sanctions and military attack as a means to insure they don’t get that which may finally give them the power to resist such pressure is truly misguided and is bound to fail.

  6. You’d be surprised at what doesn’t surprise me, Po.

    However, your statement assumes I am not for a long term goal of total global nuclear disarmament.

    Nuclear weapons are something no one should have and no sane person wants, but the truth is there will be imbalance until reduction starts and reduction does not start with proliferation.

    I’m all for making all the kids put down their bricks, but that battle is fought one brick at a time.

    1. That works for me, if while each new kid is prevented from picking up a brick, all the other kids with bricks are made to hand them over. Otherwise no kid will put down his brick, or fail to pick up one if he knows some other kid stashed a brick here and there.

  7. Gene, how can I not agree with you about theocracy? The debate isn’t about you condemning crime and me excusing it. It is you calling rape the worse scourge in crime and me saying that murder is also horrific and therefore we cannot address rape without also addressing murder; that we cannot condemn rape without condemning murder; we cannot condemn Iran without equally condemning everyone else guilty of the same crime, or who dwells in the same circumstances.
    Like you, I recoil when anyone uses any holy book to justify their oppressing others, whether the Quran, the Bible, the Thorah or the Constitution. Then again what is the difference between a House member who opposes gay marriage based on the Bible and a Mullah who opposes based on the Quran? Though you may say one operates within a democracy while the other through a theocracy, the actual, practical matter differs little from one to the other.
    If theocratic rule works for the population it targets, who are we to say it is wrong? If the population is fine with a democratic rule, who are they to say it is wrong?
    You’d be surprised to learn that our constitution was informed by the Quran. You would also be shocked to learn, am sure, that the first instance of codification of human rights as we now know them, is found in the QUran.

    In general, I agree with all of your points, in general. Practically however, my point as I attempt to state it here and in every single one of my previous posts, is that our bias against Iran, either because it is a theocracy, an avowed enemy of Israel and the US, or just an overall bad guy, should not be the basis of our fighting their attempts to go nuclear, because that is inherently a subjective basis, easily proven by the fact of other equally or more problematic countries do have nukes. What is bad for the goose….yes, stop Iran to go nuclear if everyone else is stopped from having nukes. As simple as that. Anything else is a double standard and therefore inherently unfair.

  8. RTC,

    You can build reactors that don’t use fissionable material suitable for weapons. The enrichment programs they (admittedly allegedly since there is no inspection and verification) have in place are capable of producing weapons grade materials. Capability, history shows, is soon followed by desire and actualization of that desire. That is the nature of an arms race.

  9. Po,

    “Gene, your premise that even if this one is not crazy, who is to say that the other won’t be is the whole issue, because it reflects something of a bias against either the people or the system.”

    You bet I’m biased against theocracy. It’s the worst form of government in human history. I’m not bagging on it because of the Iranian people or Islam, but because it’s a shit form of government that isn’t based in reason but in belief. Reason has rules, rationality a definable quantifiable state that rests in empiricism and logic. Religion is belief and belief need not be rational and in fact often isn’t. It isn’t a matter of degree or flavor. I find it highly disturbing when our pols use religion as a basis of their positions. There is some dipshit running for office in Louisiana right now who says on his commercials “I’ll go to Washington to protect our Christian way of life”, totally disregarding that 1) we have as a Constitutional matter religious pluralism (there is no “our Christian way of life”, 2) that not all of his constituents are Christians or even the same flavor of Christianity as he is and 3) that we have a specifically secular form of government that is prohibited from endorsing one religion over another. It makes me actually angry to hear that would be theocrat speak as if he speaks for me and his promise reeks of potential 1st Amendment abuses that are best avoided by not putting a man like that in office to begin with. If the study of jurisprudence and history in general has taught me one thing it is that religion has no place in law. None. Subjective standards open to interpretation are factually inferior ways to formulate just law compared to the objective standards of ethics based in empiricism. I do not hide that I am a technocrat in my approach to legalism. While I think everyone has a right to decide what the believe in as a matter of self-determination, that choice begins and ends with the individual. Religion, like sex or what to eat or your choice in vices or what clothes you wear, is a personal choice that you are free to adopt for yourself, but it always always leads to disaster when you try to use the mechanisms of law to force your personal choices on others in the name of dogma. Religion had its chance throughout the bulk of human history and the results have been universally dreadful. I also don’t think God should be anywhere on our currency and out of the pledge of allegiance (which is in itself wrong, but that’s another story). Children out grow the need for Santa or the Boogeyman – most of the them do anyway – and it is time for humans as a species to outgrow using mythology as a motivator for defining what is good and what is bad vis a vis legalism. If we don’t? It will be the death of us as surely as our myopic shortsighted venal exploitation of the environment will.

    Theocracy is bad for us. There is no excuse there, here or anywhere that makes it a good idea, be it done in the name of God, Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, Buddha (and I’m philosophically a Buddhist, but I don’t approve of Thailand’s form of government either), Odin or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I have no beef with the Iranian people. I think they, like us, deserve better governance than they get. I have no beef with Islam other than the same beef I have with the one other major religion that practices proselytizing (Christianity): believe what you like, but keep it to yourself unless I express interest and most certainly do not try to make decisions for me based on your religion of choice on how to live my life. Your approval is not required of my personal choices just as mine is not required of yours, and while I do find certain belief systems absolutely abhorrent and unethical (Objectivism for one which despite dressing like a philosophy is really an ideology and religion), I would never think that using the force of law to ban the belief in Objectivism is a proper use of the law. That violates the very principle of self-determination. Freedom of choice includes the freedom to make the wrong choice or a different choice, especially on a matter so fundamental as your personal relationship with the rest of the universe, but make no mistake, your rights end where the rights of others begin.

    “Although both the president and the SA may call themselves Muslims, I can guarantee you that the former will seek to gain more power at the expense of the other, while the latter will work at maintaining the reins.”

    As a factual matter, I do not disagree with this statement, however, you discount that Wahhabist Islam (the state religion of SA) is the most radical form of Islam there is and seeks to destroy not just religious faiths that are not Islam but to destroy all forms of Islam that are not Wahhabi. I have described in this forum before how being manipulated into doing their dirty work for them, the US is playing directly into the goals of creating a Wahhabist Caliphate in the region. They’ve been playing the Suni and the Shia against each other for centuries. But make no mistake. They are playing the long game and the shape of their victory is a Wahhabist Caliphate. Next to Pakistan, there is no greater enemy to regional stability than Saudi Arabia (if one discounts the complications of Israel as previously stipulated).

    “It is also apparent that you don’t know enough about the Iranian judicial system. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which is also an islamic republic, and which also applies the sharia law, Iran’s is nothing like SA for the simple fact that their “sharia” law is a hodgepodge of various civil , religious and secular laws that informs itself less from the Quran and more from exegeses, traditions and societal mores.”

    To which I reply, “So what?” and “You’re ignoring that the Supreme Leader appoints the heads of the judiciary”. It would be like letting the Pope or the Council of Baptist Ministers here appoint the Supreme Court. Yeah. That would be a good idea and not result in any sort of religious oppression. Not. You’re talking about religious traditions that say their way is the only way. Us versus them rests at the heart of their beliefs; they are exclusionary religious practices. And that never causes trouble, does it?

    “Yes, I do appreciate the tension in the region. I am also aware that the biggest danger to world stability is not Iran, it is Pakistan.”

    And yet you have no issue with adding another nuclear piece to the board in that region. Give another kid a brick. Interesting . . . and not in line with the notions of a diplomatic solution designed to reduce the chance of brick related injuries all around. Does a nuclear Iran increase the regional stability? No. It does not. Does a nuclear Iran create potential for even more risk? Yes. It does. The name of the diplomatic game is regional risk reduction. A nuclear Iran is counterproductive to that end.

  10. Don’t put too much stock in what the state-run news service says the people are saying. For all we really know, the majority of Iranians are in full agreement with Rouhani on the Holocaust.

    I take this as a very encouraging sign. Rouhani knew exactly what he was saying and how it would be received by his people.

    If Iranians actually are upset about his comments, then it illustrates the problems of political leadership – a leader can’t get too far out in front of his people, nor can he afford to be too far behind. A successful leader senses the trend and try to appear to be in the vanguard. He also tries to shift opinion by degrees. This could give cover to those moderate Iranians who feel it’s time for rational dialogue.

    And, what the Iranians really need is nuclear power. They have an extraordinarily bad petroleum deal. You guys, and BushCo., are the ones insisting they want a weapon.

  11. When Ahmadinejad was first elected he also said some thing and made some veiled overtures that gave rise to speculation that iran may have been poised to take a more moderate approach. The debate at that time boiled down to, as Gene says in his posting above, what the President is saying doesn’t matter because the President isn’t the man with the power.

    There were discussions in the media regarding the possibility that what was being said by the new President was actually a domestic tet a tet between the Mullahs and the office of President, boundary (re)establishment and water testing. Depending on how large and active Ahmadinejad’s followers were (and who they were) perhaps the state of Iran would change or modify some of its positions to accommodate changing internal politics. The Mullahs might give some ground.

    Then Ahmadinejad turned rightward. Who was who and what was what was sorted out and it was done. It didn’t take very long either.

    There is nothing to indicate that what President Rouhani is doing is any different or that conditions are any different domestically. The President of Iran is a puppet. How much so and what face Iran will show the world is what is being determined.

    The conditions within Iran are not what America is used to dealing with, It is probably some confusion over the use of the word President. The President doesn’t have to be a theocrat and I never thought Ahmadinejad was. Nor does the current President have to be. When President Bush started his “Axis of evil” routine I was dismayed. Iran was quiet. Iran got quiet and stayed that way for a decade or more. Bush seemed to be picking a fight with a nation that was not agitating for anything publicly.

    This is all a deja vu moment. It would be interesting if it worked out differently this time.

  12. Po,

    I think you vastly over estimate the power of the Iranian President and ignore the fact that Iran is truly a theocracy. The Office of President in Iran is a secular position and it is held by someone currently who is in initial appearances a moderate. He is though in no way analogous to our President in position. He has nothing like the authority our President does even if you disregard our domestic problem of the expanding unitary Executive. He isn’t CIC and he doesn’t set policy. He is a titular head of state, but he isn’t in charge.

    As to theocracy? They are organized like a theocracy with unelected religious leaders in charge of not just policy but their legal system. They are a unitary theocratic Islamic republic. That is their form of government. That isn’t open for debate. That’s a legal and political science fact.

    As to the Supreme Leader, even if the current one isn’t completely out of touch with reality, who is to say the next one won’t be? And for that matter, he isn’t subject to popular opinion, he’s subject to how the Council of Experts interpret popular opinion. None of which changes that as theocrats they are basing the policy on morals, not ethics – a subjective standard versus an objective standard. That means it is susceptible to error in ways ethics are not. If anything has been shown by history, it is that allowing subjective standards of men in power, whether they call themselves President, Dictator or Supreme Ruler, is a recipe for disaster. This is why theocracy is a bad idea; modern law is based on reason, Sharia is based on 1400 year old fairy tales that, just like the 2000 year old book of Christian fairy tales, doesn’t always rely on reason and isn’t even consistent in its internal logic. They are operating under principles no more conducive to a secular government than the grossly mistaken idea that some would be theocrats here embrace in suggesting that the Bible is the root of our legal system.

    The reasoning vis a vis Bush is specious reasoning. It also disregards the fact he’s an idiot. It’s also a form of the Historian’s Fallacy meets the Moralistic Fallacy; just because past leaders may have thought God was on their side doesn’t mean God is real or on their side or that such thinking is conducive to any kind of secular solution (or state for that matter).

    “That however, and unfortunately, is not enough to deny Iran nukes, for the standards that are applied to Iran aren’t therefore the same standards by which the rest of the world runs.”

    That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but I don’t think you fully appreciate both the actual structure of their government or the tensions in the region (specifically in regard to Pakistan and India) nor the inherent danger in any form of theocracy being allowed to have nuclear weapons. You may think giving people the most horrific power we have yet to invent who show no basis in dealing with reality and instead base their morality on some old collection of stories that are just as open to interpretation as the Bible is might be a good idea, but I sure as Hell don’t.

    I said I understood why the third kid wanted to pick up a brick.

    I didn’t say it was either permissible, a good idea or conducive to a solution that doesn’t involve brick related injuries all around.

    The best way to avoid trouble is not to be there when it starts. The second best way is make sure as few people as possible get hurt and to minimize those injuries. Giving the person who relies on religious edict and interpretation over reason on how to use his brick isn’t nearly as safe as taking away his brick.

    A nuclear Iran is not a viable option unless you want an eventual nuclear conflict in the region.

    1. I agree with you both, Gene and lottakatz about the power, or lack thereof of the Iranian presidency. Lottakatz even hinted at my next point, which is that the Iranian form of government is not unlike the UN, in terms of the fact that the supreme leader has veto power. He may support the president or undermine him, just as he supported and undermined Ahmad. Depending on the skills of the Iranian president, and his ability to rally by his side the different factions in and around the Iranian power structure, he may very become a serious thorn in the side of the supreme leader (SL). The consensus is that Ahmad tried to play the game but perhaps lacking the deft touch, he blew it and found himself in the outs.

      Gene, your premise that even if this one is not crazy, who is to say that the other won’t be is the whole issue, because it reflects something of a bias against either the people or the system. It seems to be the system, based on your idea that the whole of the governmental system in Iran is based on 1400 years fairy tale. Although both the president and the SA may call themselves Muslims, I can guarantee you that the former will seek to gain more power at the expense of the other, while the latter will work at maintaining the reins.

      It is also apparent that you don’t know enough about the Iranian judicial system. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which is also an islamic republic, and which also applies the sharia law, Iran’s is nothing like SA for the simple fact that their “sharia” law is a hodgepodge of various civil , religious and secular laws that informs itself less from the Quran and more from exegeses, traditions and societal mores. There is nothing about their international dealings that are obviously Quranic. Islam is merely a tool that informs tendencies, just like the bible may inspire or inform a lot of the impulses our leaders have to pass or vote down a law. In these past few days, and about the debate on food, stamps, how many times have we heard ahouse member quote the Bible to support an argument for or against the process?

      Whether in Iran, SA, here in the US or elsewhere, there is no unanimity on the process of government. There are secular forces in Iran seeking to upend the theocratic system, just as there are variously moderate, variously fundamentalist currents seeking to assert themselves, some of which have been supported and armed by the US for decades.

      Yes, I do appreciate the tension in the region. I am also aware that the biggest danger to world stability is not Iran, it is Pakistan. Not only does Pakistan already have Nukes, their system of government is informed both by a western bent AND fundamentalist leanings. The forces at war against each other in pakistan are relentless and adamant. The military is playing everyone against each other in order to maintain power, while at the same time showing a lack of control over the nuclear arsenal. The Pakistani borders are open to Afghanistan, and groups eager to sow terror and mayhem are free to cross back and forth, and foment more of their actions.
      Comparatively, Iran’s borders are pretty tight, the various dissenting forces are politely asserting themselves, and more importantly, the population does not have a fundamentalist bent.

  13. In the past during the cold war, one could somewhat rely on the fact the Soviets deep down had self preservation in mind and if one accepted that they held this in high importance it was a good gauge of how to shape policy or reaction in dealing with them. I don’t share this in my belief of what motivates the Iranian gov’t. That makes for a far more loose cannon.

    1. The mistake most of us make, Darren, is that whatever we don’t understand, we as a loose cannon, acting without aim, recklessly. The Soviets are still sometimes viewed similarly.
      Iran in a nutshell (pun intended) is this:
      Due to their history with the West (and boy what a history it is), Iran set up a system of government that tried to insure that it would never once again be upended and handed to a puppet ruler, thereby bringing it back under the control of foreign governments and multinationals.
      All the power is set up around the supreme leader because he is the least likely to be corrupted and used against the better interests of his country.
      All the upheaveals we see of late in Iran is simply the population, open to the West, trying to bring their government up to their modern view to democracy. Obviously, no government ever wants to relinquish power, so we see this delicate dance between the intransigeance of the system versus the optimism of the liberals.

  14. Po,

    Here’s two reasons.

    1) Despite the fact they hold democratic elections for the office of President, Iran is a theocracy; controlled by Ali Khamenei and his clerical council who maintain sole control over military intelligence and security operations and has sole power to declare war or peace. The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Guardian Council are appointed by the Supreme Leader. He is answerable to no one but “The Council of Experts” – also clerics. As a practical matter, these are the very last kind of people you want having nuclear weapons anywhere – people who think that not only is God on their side but that there is no better way to get to Heaven than fighting the Infidels. Theocracy, no matter how you dress it up, is government by delusion, not government by reason. Letting them have nukes is like giving a child a loaded gun with the safety off who might just shoot anyone who tells them Santa isn’t real. To continue the allegory from parable, the third child in this instance is not mentally or emotionally stable.

    2) Proximity to Russian territory and a shared border with Pakistan. Disregarding Russian dislike for more nukes on their border, adding a nuclear Iran can only complicate matters between India and Pakistan which are already bad enough with both of them having nukes. Consider too a shared border with Turkey, a NATO member and ally. If regional stability is a valid concern (which I think it is), a nuclear Iran does not serve that end.

    I’ve got more reasons that have nothing to do with Israel either but those are the big two.

  15. Po, I saw the little man who ran Iran up until last year @ a UN presser a couple years ago. He said they have no gay people in Iran and was laughed @ by the press, as he should have been. However, I didn’t truly understand your thoughts vis a’ vis Iran, and your demonizing of Israel. You see, if I knew you were ok w/ Iran having a nuclear weapon then we could have saved both our time. I find that totally unacceptable. You’re ok w/ it. There’s nothing else to say. Sleep tight.

    1. This, Gene, is the value of the good kind of a forum, in that there are people with whom you might not see eye to eye, but whose point you must respect because they base it on information and reason.
      Both of your reasons make quite a bit of sense, and are truly, the only time in the last few years where I have heard anyone base their issue with a nuclear Iran on something other than Israel and/ or emotions.
      Now to address them, I’d say:

      1- Though Iran is fundamentally a theocracy, and the supreme head, Khamenei, is a religious authority, the Iranian president is not by essence a theocrat as he is neither the religious authority, nor is fundamentally an enforcer of the rules of the theocratic state. His is a power not unlike the executive, in that it is checked and somewhat checks the legislative power, albeit the legislative power in this instance is the supreme leader. In that respect, I still stand by my argument to Nick that the Iranian president is not a theocrat.
      Secondly, the supreme leader is answerable to public pressure., as he has demonstrated through these recent years.
      Thirdly, propaganda dictates we assign a religious, jihadist bent to Iran, yet a close study of Khamenei history would reveal very few, if any, utterances that frames any debate in terms in “the infidels”. Additionally, though it is an Islamic country, Iran is a very secular country.
      Khamenei might also be the only leader in the whole world who has consistently refused to legitimize the use of nuclear weapons, as he knows it to be against his faith.
      Finally, regarding this point, who is it who does not think that God is on their side? Didn’t prez Bush think that God was on our side in Iraq? Do we not, as a nation frame the debate in terms of good guys and bad guys, and haven’t our leaders always framed the debate in such terms that our enemies are essentially the infidels?

      2- I agree with you that any additional country sporting nukes, whether North Korea, Iran, Iraq or Ghana, would further complicate international affairs. And evidently the world would be a better place if no one, including the US had nukes. Easy enough.
      That however, and unfortunately, is not enough to deny Iran nukes, for the standards that are applied to Iran aren’t therefore the same standards by which the rest of the world runs. It isn’t unlike saying to Syria to give up its chemical weapons when we know that Israel has them and that we, too, have them.
      I know that someone else will chime in with the point that Iran being “a bad guy”, we should disregard the rules of fairness and really should care whether there is a double standard or not. I’d say to them that you cannot have it both ways. If the US is the arbiter of justice and fairness then let us be fair through and through, otherwise, and as Obama claimed, our exceptionalism demands that we set the rules and break them as we wish.

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