Drowning Out the Iran War Talk
If you are like me, you want some answer for what to do about Iran’s nuclear program.
Month after month the debate goes on, there seem to be no solutions, and the war talk continues to heat up. WAND and every peace group in the country firmly condemn the continual threat of bombing Iran’s nuclear sites by either the U.S. or Israel.
The Wall Street Journal had a front page article this week about how “U.S. firepower would vie with Iran’s Guerrilla Tactics,” and showed drawings of how our large warships might have to react to their small ones. Readers can watch a video online about these projected battles in “The Persian Gulf Matchup.”
Arguments against a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities are convincing: it wouldn’t do enough damage to the program, it would kill Iranian civilians, it would strengthen their support for the present regime, it would further support the belief that they need nuclear weapons to protect themselves. It could lead to a wider Middle Eastern war. And with 40% of the world’s oil coming through the Straits of Harmuz, the economic repercussions would be huge.
So what are the options today? The U.S. should continue to arrange talks and put pressure on Israel not to take action. Promoting communication with other Arab nations and the U.N. has to continue. If ever there was a time to substitute talk for bombs, this is it.
If we take a longer view, Iran wants to be admitted to the company of other nations, not treated more and more like a “rogue” nation. There are historical reasons why Iranians can claim they have been badly treated by western powers. How can they not feel threatened by the nuclear weapons of those powers, and specifically by those of Israel?
This is when WAND can point to the urgent need to get back to plans previously agreed to for reducing our own nuclear arsenal. There are signs that non-nuclear countries are losing patience. Recently, Brazil offered to put pressure on Iran to modify its nuclear program.
Politics deeply affect war and peace decisions, making the situation in Iran even more confusing. There, the leadership is split. Iran’s spiritual leader, Khomenei, has made an edict prohibiting nuclear weapons in opposition to President Ahmajinedad’s pugnacious bluster. In the U.S., Republican candidates and the media continually pound on what they call “weakness” in terms of any efforts at negotiations by our administration. We need a foreign policy that transcends politics, but that is even more impossible in an election year.
Recent talks in Istanbul show some hope and more talks are planned. Foreign policy experts are now saying there can be a workable deal to slow down any Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. U.S. public opinion is overwhelmingly against another war, and surely Iranian citizens dread it just as much. It’s up to groups like WAND to make the alternatives to war loud and clear.
-Sayre Sheldon, NGO Representative for WAND at the U.N.