standards in the Middle East
Iran is being subjected to ferocious economic
sanctions, which are doing real damage to the Iranian economy and bringing misery to its poorest people.
The sanctions that are doing the damage are not UN sanctions. They haven’t been mandated by the Security
Council, and therefore UN member states are under no obligation to implement
So, why are many states around the world implementing these
sanctions? Answer: because the US is bullying
states that don’t want to implement them into doing so.
These sanctions are US sanctions, legislated for by the US
Congress, signed off by the US
President, that nice Mr Obama, and being enforced by the US
administration by ferocious bullying.
It might be more accurate to call them Israeli sanctions,
since the Israeli lobby in the US
was responsible for persuading the US Congress to pass the first tranche of legislation
in December 2011. A second tranche,
again promoted by the Israeli lobby, was passed in August 2012 and President
Obama signed an executive order bringing it into force on 9 October 2012. All this was carefully planned by the Israeli
lobby for the start of presidential election year, so that the possibility of
resistance from Obama was minimised in circumstances where his republican
rivals were accusing him of being soft on Iran.
The legislation passed last December required the US
administration to bully other states around the world into stopping buying
Iranian oil, by threatening to cut off their financial institutions from the US
financial system, if they conduct transactions with the Central Bank of Iran or
other Iranian financial institutions.
Since US trade with Iran has been negligible since the Islamic
Revolution in 1979, it was no skin off America’s nose to force others to
stop buying Iranian oil.
The EU signed up to the US sanctions without
having to be bullied, even though this was likely to be painful for some EU states
(eg Greece and Italy) who got a significant amount of their oil requirements
from Iran. To arrive at this common
foreign policy all 27 EU states, including Ireland, must have assented to these
Israeli-inspired sanctions and, where appropriate, are proceeding to implement
Not because of Iran’s nuclear
Why are these Israeli-inspired sanctions being imposed on Iran? It can’t be because of Iran’s nuclear
- Iran has no nuclear weapons
to US intelligence, Iran
hasn’t even got a nuclear weapons programme, and Israeli intelligence
- Iran’s nuclear facilities are open
to IAEA inspection
If you don’t believe me, then consider the
following from a Reuters Special Report entitled Intel shows Iran nuclear threat not imminent , dated 23 March 2012:
“The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran's nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided
to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear
So, there is no reason to believe that Iran has
engaged in the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East or is about
to do so. Thanks to the scandalously
misleading reporting of this issue in mainstream media, the man in the street
in the US and Europe probably thinks that Iran has nuclear weapons or is in the
process of developing them, but it is reasonable to assume the heads of state
who are waging this economic war against Iran know the truth.
The Reuters report says that Iran “is
probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead”. The latter assumes that Iran will
decide one day to build nuclear weapons.
In this context, it is worth noting that the Supreme Leader of Iran,
Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that “the possession of nuclear weapons a grave
sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive
and dangerous” 
and that Iran
will never acquire them.
However, the possession of nuclear weapons and
the means of delivering them is the best means of defence against attack by
other states. So, if the present
economic warfare against Iran
escalates into actual warfare, then it would be difficult for the religious
authorities in Iran
to maintain a fatwa against their possession as a means of defence. Military action against Iran when it
doesn’t possess nuclear weapons is the surest way of persuading the Iranian
leadership to acquire them, as quickly as possible.
Israel’s nuclear arsenal
Iran is a party to the Treaty on
the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons ,
aka the NPT. It has not engaged in the
proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, nor is there any evidence
that it is about to do so.
By contrast, Israel
has refused to join the NPT and, almost half a century ago, it introduced
nuclear weapons into the Middle East.
Today, it has an arsenal of nuclear weapons –
the Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has 80 warheads ; other experts on these
matters, for example, Professor Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic
& International Studies, reckon it may have as many as 400 (see Israel’s Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Overview ,
Israel can deliver these warheads by
aircraft, submarine-launched cruise missiles and ballistic missiles to
any capital in the Middle East and much further
the outside world knows
almost nothing about what is going on in Israel’s nuclear facilities. Unlike Iran’s, they are almost entirely
closed to inspection by the IAEA or any other foreign agency. A small exception is a 5MW reactor supplied
by the US in 1955, located
at Nahal Soreq, which has been under IAEA safeguards since the early 60s, at
the insistence of the US.
Israel’s nuclear facilities remain closed
to the IAEA, despite the fact that nearly 30 years ago, on 19 June 1981, the UN
Security Council passed resolution 487, which called upon Israel “urgently
to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards” .
resolution was passed in the aftermath of Israel’s aerial attack on an Iraqi
nuclear reactor. The resolution was passed
unanimously, all five veto-wielding members of the Security Council, including
voting for it. Israel has ignored
the resolution and nearly 30 years later its nuclear facilities, bar the small
exception mentioned above, are still not subject to IAEA inspection.
Unlike Iran, Israel
has engaged in nuclear proliferation in the Middle East
on an enormous scale. But, far from
being sanctioned for this nuclear proliferation, Israel
enjoys immense privileges from the US
and the EU, who are most vigorous in sanctioning Iran which has not engaged in
nuclear proliferation at all. Israel receives over US$3 billion a year in
military aid from the US (more
US tax dollars go to Israel than to any other state in the world) and
the EU accords Israel
privileged access to the EU market through the EU-Israel Association Agreement.
One could be forgiven for thinking that a double standard is
being applied to Iran and Israel in this
Germany helps Israel to enhance its nuclear
a state that is actively engaged in sanctioning Iran
even though it has no nuclear weapons, is helping Israel enhance its nuclear weapons
systems, by supplying submarines from which the nuclear-armed cruise missiles
can be launched.
in Spiegel Online on 3 June 2012 is entitled Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built
Submarines . It begins:
is helping Israel
to develop its military nuclear capabilities, SPIEGEL has learned. According to
extensive research carried out by the magazine, Israel
is equipping submarines that were built in the northern German city of Kiel and largely paid for
by the German government with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
“In the past, the German government
has always stuck to the position that it is unaware of nuclear weapons being
deployed on the vessels. Now, however, former high-ranking officials from the
German Defense Ministry, including former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and
former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told SPIEGEL that they had
always assumed that Israel
would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the
issue with the military in Tel Aviv.
“The submarines are built by the German shipyard HDW in Kiel. Three submarines
have already been delivered to Israel,
and three more will be delivered by 2017. In addition, Israel is considering ordering its seventh,
eighth and ninth submarines from Germany.”
more. The EU, including Germany, is committed to a nuclear-weapon-free zone in
the Middle East. Yet Germany
is enhancing Israel’s
nuclear weapons capability by supplying submarines, and supplying them at a
knockdown price – and there is not a word of criticism from any other EU state.
make it up.
zone in the Middle East
of a nuclear-weapon-free
zone in the Middle East has been the subject of resolutions in international
fora since the mid 70s, when evidence began to emerge that Israel was developing nuclear
calling for such a zone, co-sponsored by the US,
UK and Russia, was
passed at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference . The NPT was initially scheduled to last for
25 years, at the end of which, in 1995, a Conference of the parties to the Treaty
had to be held to decide whether to extend its operation. The Conference extended the Treaty
indefinitely without dissent, but the “nuclear-weapon” states had to pay a
price, namely, a resolution calling for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle
say, the passing of this resolution has had no effect whatsoever on the ground
in the Middle East, despite states in the
Non-Aligned Movement pressing the matter at subsequent NPT Review
Conferences. These take place every five
years and enormous diplomatic efforts are invested in advance of the Conference
itself to construct a
final consensus declaration (which is invariably long and vacuous).
In May 2010, the Obama administration was anxious to avoid a
repeat of the outcome of the 2005 Review Conference, which failed to agree a
final declaration. On this occasion,
pressure from members of the Non-Aligned Movement yielded the
promise of “a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle
East, on the establishment of a Middle East
zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction” .
conference is being arranged by Finland
and is due to take place in December 2012.
has just announced that it will not be attending.
Why is the US
waging economic warfare against Iran?
So, why is the US
waging economic warfare against Iran? As I said, it can’t be because of Iran’s nuclear
activities. The only answer that makes
sense is that the US wants
to crush Iran because it
stands in the way of its hegemony in the Middle East. A change in regime to one that is prepared
to do US bidding would be ideal and, now that its economic warfare is having an
impact, no doubt the US
is beginning to think that it is a possibility.
I will end with the words of Bill Blum, author of the book Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, about
what drives US
“So, if you want to understand this
thing called United States foreign policy ... forget about the War on
Terrorism, forget about September 11, forget about democracy, forget about
freedom, forget about human rights, forget about religion, forget about the
people of Libya and Syria ... keep your eyes on the prize ... Whatever advances
American global domination. Whatever suits their goals at the moment. There is
no moral factor built into the DNA of US foreign policy.” 
11 October 2012