Next Stop, Iran


During former US President Bill Clinton’s recent trip to Australia, he said that the two greatest threats facing us in the 21st century were terrorism and global warming. The Age welcomed Clinton’s presence in Melbourne as the coming of an almost god-like figure. ‘While much of the world’s population struggles simply to survive, large numbers of the rest of us are searching for heroes,’ it editorialised on 23 February (link here).

The fact that Clinton oversaw the bulk of sanctions against Iraq, and the death of over 500,000 men, women and children, didn’t appear to matter. For The Age, Clinton wasn’t Bush or a Republican, and was therefore a person worth respecting.

Clinton was right on one issue, however. Global warming is a major problem and still largely sidelined by governments and mainstream media alike. Readers of the UK Guardian on 8 February were treated to this striking piece of news:

Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced Western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years without building a new generation of nuclear power stations. The attempt by the country of 9 million people to become the world’s first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of industrialists, academics, farmers, car makers, civil servants and others, who will report to parliament in several months.

Sweden is the first Western country to attempt such an endeavour and yet the news was ignored in Australia. Instead, our self-appointed terrologists, ‘war on terror’ devotees and fear-mongering governments prefer to focus the public’s attention on the next target of liberation: Iran.

Thanks to Ed Stein

As the quagmire in Iraq deepens, and Islamophobia becomes both politically correct and encouraged, the same blood-stained figures that led us into Saddam’s lair are now trying to achieve a similar result next door.

We are constantly told that Iran is a ‘threat.’ Barry Cohen, Federal Labor MP from 1969 “1990 and a minister in the Hawke Government, informed readers in The Australian on 17 February that Iran was led by fanatics and desired to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. ‘The fanatics don’t care if they die,’ he wrote. ‘On the contrary, many will welcome it. At the risk of being repetitive we have a problem.’ His solution wasn’t articulated but, for Cohen, the Iranian people were clearly irrelevant except inasmuch as they threatened Israel.

Larry Derfner, a senior journalist and columnist at the Jerusalem Post, offered another perspective on 16 December, 2005. He believes that Iran is going to get nuclear weapons whether the West likes it or not. His answer, however, is for Israel to build ‘more and better nuclear weapons of its own.’ This kind of ‘deterrence’ works well, Derfner wrote. He also encouraged the Jewish State to develop better chemical and biological weapons than Iran. The lunatics have most certainly taken over the asylum.

We’re told that the rise of a nuclear Iran is not to be tolerated but India and Pakistan can build their arsenals with Western blessing. Israel’s open secret of between 200 and 500 nuclear warheads isn’t even susceptible to international inspections, while Iran has allowed UN inspectors to comb the country looking for weapons material.

It should be noted that North Korea has undoubtedly learnt the best way to avoid US invasion: build a bomb, maybe a few, and watch the world suddenly cease its threats.

Fervour for some kind of Western offensive against Iran is gathering steam. Even ABC Radio’s PM is not immune. In mid-February, host Mark Colvin interviewed an English professor on international affairs and asked him how the West should deal with the ‘Iranian nuclear threat.’

John Pilger recently explained in the New Statesman on 13 February how we are being set up again:

Like the invasion of Iraq, an attack on Iran has a secret agenda that has nothing to do with the Tehran regime’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction. That Washington has managed to coerce enough members of the International Atomic Energy Agency into participating in a diplomatic charade is no more than reminiscent of the way it intimidated and bribed the ‘international community’ into attacking Iraq in 1991.

Iran offers no ‘nuclear threat.’ There is not the slightest evidence that it has the centrifuges necessary to enrich uranium to weapons-grade material. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has repeatedly said his inspectors have found nothing to support American and Israeli claims. Iran has done nothing illegal; it has demonstrated no territorial ambitions nor has it engaged in the occupation of a foreign country unlike the United States, Britain and Israel. It has complied with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to allow inspectors to ‘go anywhere and see anything’ unlike the US and Israel.

The deputy head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service told a Russian daily on 22 February that his country had no evidence Iran had any nuclear warheads or a sufficient amount of plutonium for constructing them.

Flynt Leverett, former senior director for Middle East affairs in the US National Security Council (NSC) revealed in late February that the Bush Administration deliberately sabotaged Iran’s assistance on al-Qaeda in the period after September 11. Even though Iranian officials assisted the US in unseating the Taliban in Afghanistan, the neo-Conservatives were determined to isolate Iran and include it in the ‘axis of evil.’ It is therefore unsurprising that Iran would feel the need to explore its nuclear options in response to US aggression.

Perhaps the biggest bombshell as yet unreported in the mainstream media lies in the case of Valerie Plame, a former CIA agent outed by the Bush Administration after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged White House allegations about Iraq allegedly obtaining uranium from Niger. The Raw Story (link here) website revealed in mid-February that one of the main reasons Plame may have been outed was because she was working on discovering Iran’s nuclear capabilities, if any, and represented a direct threat to the neo-Con agenda.

In other words, once Plame was removed from the scene, the US intelligence community would be virtually blind in determining Iran’s nuclear progress the neo-Cons’ ideal scenario. Step forward the same charlatans, war-freaks and neo-Cons who led us into Iraq.

The total failure of the Iraq project will not deter the US and its allies from launching an attack on Iran. The US and Israel are gathering public opinion for yet another illegal and immoral intervention. It is the media’s duty to stop them.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.