Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Iran's Supreme Leader denounces nuclear weapons



“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly announced that in principle, based on sharia (Islamic law), it is opposed to the production and use of nuclear weapons,” the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei (above) told IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in Tehran on Saturday.

Many thanks to Martin Meenagh for this, unsurprisingly the story did not receive much publicity in the western media. The neocons have long sought to portray Iran as a theocratic dictatorship, a place where the mullahs call all the shots. But if that's true, surely the Supreme Leader's denouncement of nuclear weapons is of the utmost significance....?

Come on guys, you can't have it both ways.

20 comments:

Luke said...

So why were they developing them until at least 2003? And what was it that happened in 2003 that, apparently, caused them to change their mind?

Belaruski said...

Luke, has Iran admitted that or is it speculation? (A genuine question).

SL said...

Luke.

Obviously the Iranian leadership stopped researching when America invaded Iraq for having nuclear weapons. I for one do not believe that Iran has stopped researching nuclear weapons, after all, American intelligence has proven time and time again to be dreadful.

Luke said...

I believe it is the height of naivety to take anyhting said by the Iranian regime at face value. The President, if we remember, claimed that homosexuality did not exist in Iran.

And yes, I agree. If indeed Iran did stop or halt its nuclear weapons-making scheme in 2003, I believe that would be a direct result of the invasion of Iraq.

Jock McTrousers said...

Sorry to state the obvious, but why shouldn't Iran have nuclear weapons, anyway ? Oh, they signed the non-proliferation treaty, like us - better nuke them, then, just to be on the safe side, and us too. And then there's that other country that didn't sign the treaty but is known to have hundreds of nukes, has invaded and bombed all its neighbours, has carried out dozens of assassinations in Europe, has huge spy rings in the USA and Europe - see if you can guess who I'm talking about. Well, they didn't promise not to proliferate, so I suppose that's alright.

Douglas said...

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly announced that in principle, based on sharia (Islamic law), it is opposed to the production and use of nuclear weapons,”

And I repeatedly don't believe them.

Anonymous said...

"And yes, I agree. If indeed Iran did stop or halt its nuclear weapons-making scheme in 2003, I believe that would be a direct result of the invasion of Iraq."

Luke you must be mad. Iran saw first-hand the consequences of not having nuclear weapons. The US invasion of Iraq would be a reason to continue a nuke weapons program, not abandon it!! America invaded Iraq precisely because they thought it was a "safe" bet (although they had no idea it would turn into a graveyard for so many US soldiers and the neocon ideology). Their intelligence showed Iraq had no WMDs. Even Colin Powell admitted that Iraq had been defanged back in 2001.

Sorry Luke. Ideology and logic are often at odds.

Douglas:

And is your disbelief a basis for bombing Iran?

PJD said...

The other way of looking at it would be Iran believed the US claims that Iraq had WMD. Once the US invasion in 2003 proved that they didn't have any then they realised that with Saddam gone they didn't need to have their own deterrent.

If the National Intelligence Estimate is correct that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 then it was more likely due to the IAEA starting its investigation in February 2003 which was before the invasion of Iraq.

Anonymous said...

"The other way of looking at it would be Iran believed the US claims that Iraq had WMD. Once the US invasion in 2003 proved that they didn't have any then they realised that with Saddam gone they didn't need to have their own deterrent."

That is a distinct possibility PJD especially given the history between Iran and Iraq and it would confirm that Iran viewed a nuclear program as a deterrent, not a weapon of aggression. However, Iran still lives in a nuclear neighbourhood (Pakistan, Israel, Russia) and may want the flexbility
to resume the program.

Neil Clark said...

Luke: I have to agree with anonymous here: your logic leads a lot to be desired.
If (and it's a big if- because, as belaruski says we haven't seen any hard evidence) Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons up to 2003, why on earth abandon the programme at that stage? As anonymous said, Iraq was attacked not because the US and UK thought they had WMD but because they were sure that they didn't. So if Iran DID abandon its programme at that time (and again, we have no hard evidence that they did have such a programme) we can be sure it wasn't because of fear of US invasion, as the neocons would like us to believe. It could only have been, as PJD says, that they didn't see the need for such a programme after Saddam had been removed and with the IAEA due to begin inspections.

Either way, the neocon argument has once again been skewered.

jock: the western hypocrisy re Iran's nuclear programme is glaring. Only the other day I heard the British PM saying what a wonderful thing nuclear power was (for the Brits but not of course for the Iranians). As to nuclear weapons, the illegal US/UK assault on Iraq- a country which did not have WMD, only makes the global proliferation of WMD more likely. If, as Douglas seems to think, the Iranians are lying and they are secretly developing nuclear weapons, the responsibilty for that would lie with Bush and Blair. Just contrast the fates of Iraq and North Korea. The former didn't have WMD and said it didn't and got 'Shock and Awe', the latter claimed to have WMD and got 'diplomacy'.

Luke said...

Clark, your 'facts' leave a lot to be desired.

Brown was referring to nuclear energy. Not nuclear weapons. The UK and the US have backed Iranian nuclear power programs, even offered assistance, if they can get assurance that it will not be used as a stepping stone for the development of nuclear weapons.

Why would the CIA publicise its belief that the Iranian nuclear weapons program ended in 2003 if it weren't true? You yourself were gloating about it a few weeks back. If it isn't true, where's the gloating?

Also, why do you take the Iranians on their word about nucklear power and not the Brits when they adduce contrary evidence? Do you honestly trust the Iranian regime more than the British government?

You're also ignoring all US and IAEA reports about Iran, which point to them owning material, and developing machinery whose use is explicitly to weaponise nuclear tech. Answer me, Neil, do you honestly see no problem with a theocratic dictatorship being in possession of nuclear weapons? Democracies can, to a degree, be trusted with them - they at least in theory answer to someone other that themselves. But deranged, religious-inspired egoists in possession of nuclear weapons can't, surely, be in anyone's interests, least of all the Iranian people's.

So what is your position, Neil? Do you believe the Iranians EVER had a nuclear weapons oprgram? Do you bvelieve they do now? Do you believe that they should have one of they want? Or is your position simply the adoption of whatever idea appears contrary to US policy at the time?

Are you not remotely terrified by the thought of a madman, uncontrolled by any substantial form of democratic machinery, in control of nuclear weapons?

For the record, I'm not remotely pleased by Israel's ownership of, and concealement of its program for, nuclear weapons. I don't trust US intelligence to be either accurate or unpoliticised, and I am occasionally kept up at night by the thought of George Bush having the say about the bomb. But I think that you, Neil Clark, are being intellectually dishonest in this debate.

Anonymous said...

Neil:

You are absolutely right which why the neocons are fairly quiet about North Korea these days. Their deterrent seems to have worked.

I also love the way the neocons and their patsies laugh at Iran's need for nuclear energy. What happens when the oil runs out? Are we supposed to angry at Iran for planning for that day?

SL said...

Neil.

I was the one who brought up the idea that Iran stopped researching because of the Iraq invasion.

n said...

Anyone who says a nuclear weapons programme is different from a nuclear power programme is being disingenuous as well.

Anyway, no-one has answered the original question: Is Iran under the thumb of the theocrats, or not? The answer seems to be "yes, when it's convenient for us to say so".

Neil Clark said...

sl: You claimed that 'America invaded Iraq for having nuclear weapons'- i totally disagree- America invaded Iraq precisely because it did not have nuclear weapons.


luke :'Clark, your 'facts' leave a lot to be desired.'
and I think your manners leave a lot to be desired too.
fyi, the only country which has ever used nuclear weapons was a democracy.

"Do you honestly trust the Iranian regime more than the British government?"

Well, as a racing journalist, I tend to look at things like form. The British govt lied about genocide in Kosovo in 1999. It lied about Milosevic being a 'dictator'. It lied about Iraqi WMD. It's lied about lots of other things on the domestic front too. I'm not going to get into comparisons with the British and Iranian govts records on lying- all I know is that the British govt, when it comes to honesty, has a pretty unenviable record these past few years.

SL said...

Neil.

Well I doubt the Iranian leadership knew that at the time. They probably dropped, if they did indeed drop, their nuclear research program from fear of becoming an American target.

Anonymous said...

"Do you honestly trust the Iranian regime more than the British government?"

My God, there is actually someone left who trusts the British Government. Would you mind sending me your autograph, Tony?

Luke said...

Attacking my manners, Neil? When all I was doing was responding in kind to you, using the EXACT SAME phraseology you used.

I'll repeat my question: "Are you not remotely terrified by the thought of a madman, uncontrolled by any substantial form of democratic machinery, in control of nuclear weapons?"

Belaruski said...

Luke, democracy has little to do with the use of nuclear weapons, or in fact the lauching of any kind of military strike. Those sort of thing are taken well out of the hand of those who may say no.
e.g. where was the referendum on the war in Iraq? It wasn't in the Labour manifesto. Nobody voted for it.
I don't believe any nation should have nuclear weapons, there is no moral high ground to be had in this, Iran is no more or less likely to use them than any other nation. Primarily because their positioon of inferiority and weakness would be removed by posessing them. Look at the DPRK, and Israel for examples of this.

Deb said...

I don't believe Iran has necessarily ever had a nuclear weapons program. Nuclear power programs are allowed under the non-proliferation treaty. We cannot in good faith prevent them from having nuclear power.
Plus, isn't the US also out of compliance with the non-proliferation treaty?