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Chomsky: 'The Real Question is...What Exactly Is The Threat of Iran?'

Scholar and activist questions the need for a nuclear agreement when Iran has not violated the nonproliferation treaty

Noam Chomsky tells Al Jazeera that Iran did not deserve to be sanctioned to begin with. (Photo: Andrew Rusk/flickr/cc)

As U.S. Congress considers signing the unprecedented nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers announced earlier this month, renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky on Wednesday asked a less-considered question: "Why is the deal being pursued?"

The deal constrains what is referred to as "the Iranian threat," Chomsky said, "but what exactly is the threat?"

In an interview with Al Jazeera reporter Antonio Mora, Chomsky stated that Iran—which is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement that seeks to achieve global disarmament—has "lived up to" the mandates of that accord, despite allegations it has violated some of them by failing to declare its enriched uranium program.

"I don't think anyone ought to have nuclear weapons, including the United States, but that's not the issue," Chomsky said. "If Iran's alleged noncompliance with the NPT is an issue—and I add alleged—that certainly doesn't require sanctions or a treaty or any other actions."

Chomsky, who has previously described the U.S. treatment of Iran as "torture," said on Wednesday that the U.S. and Israel "freely use force and violence" throughout the Middle East—unlike Iran, which would only use nuclear power as a deterrent.


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"Furthermore, the U.S. is quite open about [their use of force]," Chomsky continued.

Asked what the U.S. should do if a terrorist plot was developing in a remote area of the region, Chomsky noted that the question illustrates the egregious double-standards of American foreign policy. "We feel free to attack people anywhere and kill them who we claim might be planning to harm us in the future. If anyone else did that, we'd nuke them," he said.

Watch the interview below:

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