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Remember when McCain sang, “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”?

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Here is an article in the Washington Post/Post Global today. The article is written by Maziar Bahari, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist in Iran. Bahari interviewed Dr. Akbar Etemad for the British magazine New Statesman. Etemad is a nuclear physicist, originally from Iran during the Shah’s regime.

The following are a few of the answers posed to Dr. Etemad regarding Iran’s nuclear program:

Q – You do not think that the Iranian government is trying to build nuclear weapons ?

A – I am not a mind reader. The Iranian government says that it doesn’t want to build bombs. But if you ask me, the way the west is isolating Iran leaves it no choice but to build nuclear weapons. Iran has nothing to lose and nothing to fear from sanctions anymore. When Israel threatens to attack Iran, it dares to do so because it has nuclear weapons and Iran does not. The Iranian government may now see them [nuclear weapons] as the only way they can defend themselves.

Q – It seems that the Iranian government is preoccupied with its survival. Do you think if the west, especially the Americans, guaranteed the security and survival of the Islamic regime, the regime would then be more flexible in its nuclear stance ?

A – Definitely. Iran wants the nuclear negotiations to be part of a bigger package that guarantees its security. If the west can assure Iranian officials that they do not want to isolate Iran and indicate clearly their readiness to ease the pressures exercised on it, Iranians would be more willing to negotiate. The west should stop supporting terrorism and subversive actions against Iran.

Q – What to do you think should be done now ?

A – Iran does not trust the west, and vice versa. By agreeing a temporary freeze of its program for enrichment of uranium in November 2004, Iran showed its willingness to work with the west. But it was disappointed by the west’s response, or lack of it. There is no solution for Iran’s nuclear problem other than a diplomatic solution. I, as an Iranian, feel insulted when countries talk about attacking Iran militarily. A military attack would not weaken the Iranian government, and it could not stop the nuclear program. It would only start a new regional crisis without a foreseeable end.

When a country is included in the world community it will be much more careful about what it does. The proposals and counter proposals should be transparent. No one knows what it is that the west is offering Iran and what is the Iranian response. A transparent policy would encourage Iranian leaders to be more responsive to international public opinion and to act more responsibly. If the west adopts this policy, it can sort out its differences with Iran – not only over its nuclear program but over other issues as well.

Let me, the author of this blog, add this very strongly: if the US attacks Iran and does not wipe out Iran entirely, the Iranians will immediately attack Israel. Moreover, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas will follow suit within the space of a few hours. Then, even though all the other Sunni Muslim countries in the region don’t particularly care for Iran, they will stand pat with their Muslims neighbors. Consequently, Israel will die.

For the U.S. to even consider attacking Iran, as McCain has suggested, is fool-hardy. It puts Israel at immediate risk.

Israel is a strategic partner and a dear friend of the U.S. Our foreign policy should never put this deep friendship at risk. McCain is totally and completely wrong with his advocacy of bombing Iran.

We need a determined and seriously diplomatic discussion with Iran in order to protect Israel.

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Written by Valerie Curl

September 19, 2008 at 4:30 AM

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