<\body> Stories in America: What a Concept: Women Advocate for Peace Between the U.S. and Iran

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What a Concept: Women Advocate for Peace Between the U.S. and Iran

Leave it to women to promote a peaceful solution between growing U.S. and Iran tensions. The effort is being spearheaded by Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, and Jody Williams, an American who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to outlaw the use of land mines:
"Shirin and I feel a particular responsibility to let the world know that the people of Iran and the United States do not support violent resolution of this crisis," Williams said.

The new Women Nobel Peace Laureates' Initiative also includes Betty Williams of Ireland, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala and Wangari Maathai of Kenya.

"No more military attacks. No more war," they said in a written statement. "We demand a nonviolent world where human security is the basis of our common global security."

Ebadi and Williams believe they can have an impact. Thirteen years after Ebadi began advocating for women's rights in Iran, the government changed course and decided that Islam did not forbid women to be judges.

"Now we have a few women judges," she said, speaking through an interpreter. "When women unite, you can see the results. This is our philosophy."
Perhaps they are being a bit too optimistic with regards to a peaceful solution. After all, they are dealing with an administration that prides itself on lying and getting away with it. As the violence in Iraq continues, the same people who lied about WMDs are using similar rhetoric about Iran. Just replace the word 'Iran' with 'Iraq':
Denouncing Iran's successful enrichment of uranium as unacceptable to the international community, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the U.N. Security Council must consider "strong steps" to induce Tehran to change course. "This is not a question of Iran's right to civil nuclear power," she said while greeting President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Moasogo of Equatorial Guinea. "This is a question of, ... the world does not believe that Iran should have the capability and the tehnology that could lead to a nuclear weapon."
In an interview this morning on Democracy Now, Seymour Hersch, author of "The Iran Plans: How Far Will the White House Go?", said the Bush cabal really has no idea what's going on Iran because we haven't had diplomats there for over 20 years and Bush refuses to talk to anyone in the know because they might disagree with him:
Iran has come hat-in-hand to us. A former National Security Council adviser who worked in the White House, Flynt Leverett, an ex-C.I.A. analyst who's now working at Brookings, wrote a piece a month or so ago, maybe six weeks ago, in the New York Times, describing specific offers by the Iranians to come and 'let's deal.' Let's deal on all issues. I'm even told they were willing to talk about recognizing Israel. And the White House doesn't talk. And it's not that he doesn't talk, it's that nobody pressures him to talk. There's no pressure from the media, no pressure from Congress. Here's a president who won't talk to people he's walking us into a confrontation with.
And what about nuclear capabilities?
Nobody has any illusions. Iran undoubtedly would like to get in the position where they could have the capability and the know-how and the materials, the enriched materials, to make or fabricate a nuclear weapon, sort of an on-off switch. They'd like to be able to toggle it. But the best guess, even the Israelis, who are, of course -- they view Iran as an existential threat, Israel does. The Israelis, they can tell you that Iran is anywhere from two to three years at the best, by their estimate, from actually being in a position to do it. But the American intelligence estimate, which was published last summer by the Washington Post, what they call the N.I.E., the National Intelligence Estimate, an official document, said something like eight to ten years away.

'So, what's the rush?' is what I'm hearing from the military people and the diplomats involved. What are we setting red lines for about small pilot production?
Juan Cole, a man who is more knowledgeable about the Middle East than Bush, writes:
Despite all the sloppy and inaccurate headlines about Iran "going nuclear," the fact is that all President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was that it had enriched uranium to a measely 3.5 percent, using a bank of 180 centrifuges hooked up so that they "cascade."

The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180. Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb, and since its leaders, including Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, say they do not want an atomic bomb because it is Islamically immoral, you have to wonder if they will ever have a bomb.
Wouldn't it be fun to ask Bush a question about centrifuges?
The crisis is not one of nuclear enrichment, a low-level attainment that does not necessarily lead to having a bomb. Even if Iran had a bomb, it is hard to see how they could be more dangerous than Communist China, which has lots of such bombs, and whose Walmart stores are a clever ruse to wipe out the middle class American family through funneling in cheaply made Chinese goods.

What is really going on here is a ratcheting war of rhetoric. The Iranian hard liners are down to a popularity rating in Iran of about 15%. They are using their challenge to the Bush administration over their perfectly legal civilian nuclear energy research program as a way of enhancing their nationalist credentials in Iran.
In the end, says Cole, it's all about rallying the base. I'd like to think Bush's base will see through the bullshit this time around, but many hardcore conservative already favor dropping the bombs. Fox News is basically advocating the same thing.


At 4/12/2006 10:51 AM, Anonymous truthseeker said...

Ah yes, but can they find Iran on a map?

At 4/12/2006 11:09 AM, Blogger JasonSpalding said...

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said “I declare here that the laboratory-scale nuclear fuel cycle has been completed and young scientists produced enriched uranium”. What was his definition of laboratory-scale? Laboratory scale characterization, small scale and pilot scale test method development.

At 4/12/2006 12:54 PM, Anonymous mb said...

Exactly. It's too bad war mongers don't spend a little more time reading than responding to rhetoric and flashy headlines on television.

At 4/12/2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, talk about diverting attention.

At 4/12/2006 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

truthseeker, I doubt it. Iran, Iraq, they both start with the same three letters.

At 4/12/2006 5:37 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Indeed, women everywhere are really stepping up in the peace process...


"Juan Cole, a man who is more knowledgeable about the Middle East than Bush"

Is this the same knowledgeable Juan Cole that predicted a 30% turnout for the Iraqi election? The same knowledgeble Juan Cole that claimed Osama bin Laden had engineered September 11 “in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp” -- An operation that took place seven months after 9/11.

And since you brought up uranium....


At 4/12/2006 9:33 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

As the Daily Telegraph in London reported:

“Iran’s hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.”

If we're going to negotiatiate with a jurisdiction headed by a Holocaust-denying millenarian nut job, we've already lost.

At 4/12/2006 11:28 PM, Anonymous p said...

That's what the rest of the world is saying about Bush. If we have to negotiate with a liar, we've already lost.

At 4/13/2006 6:22 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

Well, since you blame Bush for the futility of negotiating anything meaningful with other countries, then that would have to go double for dealing with Iran. Bottom line: negotiating is a dead end street. My point stands.

A year...10 years...16 days...

What's the worry?



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