Talking points on Iran, the US and Israel
This report, “Talking Points on Iran, the US and Israel”, posted on our list serve on Monday, January 30, 2012, was produced over the past month by seven members of the Women Against War Iran Project. We’re sharing it for your personal or organizational use in this time of heightened tension and talk of war with Iran.
Lately there have been many calls for increased sanctions against Iran, which would gravely affect the people of Iran and the world economy. There has also been escalating rhetoric threatening a possible military attack on Iran by either the United States or Israel.
As one way to counter these hostile drumbeats, The Iran Project of Women Against War offers some brief talking points that we all can use to lobby our Representatives and Senators, the US State Department and others. We also hope these points will help with interpreting media reports and writing emails and letters to editors and editorial boards.
1. We believe that economic and military attacks on Iran are counterproductive, threaten to cause an explosive regional conflict, disrupt the global economy, and undermine the efforts of the democratic opposition by strengthening an autocratic Iranian government which will be seen as “under foreign siege”.
2. Iran does not pose a military threat to the United States and, as our own intelligence community states, it is far from developing a nuclear weapon at this time.
3. Lately Israel has admitted that Iran does not pose a nuclear threat to its security either, but that the real issue is a change in the regional balance of power if Iran should develop nuclear weapons capability.
4. Iran feels threatened already by US presence in the region: The US military in Afghanistan and Iraq barricades Iran. The US also has military bases in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirate, Kuwait and Bahrain, effectively surrounding Iran. Bahrain also hosts the U.S. 5th fleet.
5. Instead of military threats and crippling sanctions that cause collective suffering among the people of Iran, the US needs to engage in diplomatic negotiations with Iran without pre-conditions.
6. Now that Iran and Afghanistan have signed a mutual support treaty, the US can also use Iranian help with regional negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan.
7. We believe there is a policy alternative concerning development of nuclear weapons. It is in the interest of the US, Iran, and Israel to create a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East. A regional ban on all nuclear weapons -- Not only weapons that Iran or other nations might develop in the future, but also the nuclear weapons already held by Israel. We believe the US should promote this option, which is already favored by majorities of Israeli Jews, and of Iranians.
[Please see article # 4 in the section on Background Material for further information].
Background Facts on Iran, Israel & the US
- Iran: US Defense Secretary Panetta says Iran is not yet building a nuclear bomb. Iran’s Iranian enrichment level is only 20%, not the 90% needed for a nuclear weapon. Iran is a signatory to the IAEA Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and its inspectors are monitoring Iran’s production of nuclear materials.
- Israel: In 2011 Wiki Leaks revealed Israel possessed at least 200 nuclear warheads, which it has refused to confirm or deny. Israel is NOT a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
- The US: Has 5113 Nuclear Warheads. The US is the only country that has ever used a nuclear bomb against another nation.
- Iran: Military budget for 2011 is $7.7 Billion in a country with a population of 70 million.
- Israel: Has spent $16.2 Billion on its military, with a population of only 8 million.
- The US: 2011 military budget is $663.8 Billion, more than the combined military budgets of the next 12 largest nations.
It is not in the best interests of the US to follow Israel’s lead in the Middle East:
US policies should reflect US interests in the region, not automatically support Israeli positions which actually counter American objectives.
The US current uncritical support of the current Israeli government’s positions:
Threatens to involve the US in another war.
- Contributes to anti-American sentiments in the Middle East and in other Muslim countries.
- Is also an obstacle to Middle East peace. As Vice President Biden said to Israel in 2010 “What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace”.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the most powerful advocacy groups in United States history, is pressing US presidential candidates strongly to continue current uncritical support for Israel.
In an effort to receive financial and political support, candidates are committing to policies not in the US interest such as: Continued $3 billion annual military aid to Israel, UN vetoes of any criticism of Israel, and support for preemptive military action against Iran
Military aid given to Israel diverts tax money that we need here at home to create jobs, and to provide better health care and education for our people.
In addition Israel uses U.S. military aid to commit human rights violations, making us accessories to such Human Rights violations.
At this time there are upcoming elections in the US, Iran, and Israel. Electoral politics increases the chances of warmongering and threatening statements that can easily spin out of control.
If the U.S. continues to give unconditional support to Israel there is a high possibility the of United States engaging in another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran
Background Material for further talking points
- Here’s a very interesting article about a new rationale for war against Iran based on the threat to the balance of power in the region and not on Iran’s development or use of nuclear weapons: American Enterprise Institute Admits The Problem With Iran Is Not That It Would Use Nukes,
MJ Rosenberg, Media Matters, December 02, 2011
- Here’s a more recent article about historical US relationships with emerging nuclear powers and with a focus on upcoming elections in Iran, the US, Israel, Russia and China: Confronting Iran In a Year of Elections, David E. Sanger (chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times) 1/22/12
- Christian Science Monitor: Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979
Breathless predictions that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability, or – worse – acquire an actual nuclear bomb, are not new. For more than quarter of a century Western officials have claimed repeatedly that Iran is close to joining the nuclear club. Such a result is always declared "unacceptable" and a possible reason for military action, with "all options on the table" to prevent upsetting the Mideast strategic balance dominated by the US and Israel. And yet, those predictions have time and again come and gone. This chronicle of past predictions lends historical perspective to today's rhetoric about Iran. [This article is published on the CSM website in 5 or 6 short sections and you need to click on the “next” arrow to move to the next section. It’s well worth reading for detailed historical material going from 1979 through 2011]
- For background on the idea of a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone see Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully, by Shipley Tehama and Steven Kull, in The New York Times, Jan.15, 2012