Preventing Both an Iranian Nuclear Weapon and War

The risk of war with Iran has increased.
The US
rejection of the nuclear swap arranged by Brazil and Turkey, the recent
of Israeli and American nuclear armed submarines in the Persian Gulf,
exclusion of Iran from previous agreements that nuclear states would not
nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states, the impending doubling of US
task forces in the Gulf, and the upgrading of an U.S. airbase in
Afghanistan 30
km from the Iranian border -- all signal or increase the likelihood of an

intentional or unintentional clash.

In addition, Israeli officials have said
that if
there was no progress in stopping Iran's uranium enrichment by this
summer or
fall, they would consider an attack. Since hardly a single Iran expert
sanctions to stop Iran from enriching uranium, this redline moment is
bound to
arrive unless cooler heads prevail. The failure of the President or
Congress to
back an impartial UN investigation of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla events,
Israel that the US would likewise treat an attack on Iran as

There is almost no media discussion of
inevitability of US forces being involved in the aftermath of an Israeli
or the price in lives and treasure we would pay (this raises a seemingly
subject, that Israel's and the United States' interests are not
always identical). Lastly, Congress may well pass legislation which
would cut
gasoline supplies to Iran -- hurting civilians, forcing reformist
Iranians to
unite with the hardliners, and further increasing tensions.

How did we arrive at this tinderbox
moment? Whether
the risk of a disastrous war is 10% or 40%, what can we do to
de-escalate and
still move toward the goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear

As in the run-up to the Iraq war, the
mainstream media persist in presenting one "common wisdom" view about
regardless of the real facts and options. As a result, most Americans do

  • that Iran's per capita military
    spending is
    miniscule compared to that of the US, Israel, and Turkey;
  • that US intelligence and even some
    Israeli leaders do not believe Iran would launch a suicidal attack on
  • that the nuclear swap agreement with
    Brazil and
    Turkey, while not stopping enrichment, could prevent Iran from
    uranium to 20% for its medical reactor and could establish a precedent
    of Iran
    sending its enriched uranium outside the country for conversion to
    fuel rods
    under tight international inspection;
  • that Iran has repeatedly expressed
    interest in an
    international or capped enrichment program within Iran in return for
    inspections, which arms control experts say is the best insurance
    against a
    nuclear weapons program. This option seems far better than more futile

    sanctions, war, deterrence, or acceptance of an Iranian nuclear

  • that Iran backs a nuclear weapons-free
    East, which would require intrusive inspections in all participating
    if it is to work;
  • that Middle East experts repeatedly
    point out that
    Iran and the U.S. have strong common interests in stabilizing Iraq and

    Afghanistan, which could save American and civilian lives and reduce
    expenditures, if only there could be a nuclear agreement as well,

  • that indirectly or directly, an
    Israeli attack on
    Iran would endanger American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan,
    those countries still further, increase terrorism recruitment, hike
    gas and
    food prices, depress our economy, and suck money and attention away
    desperate needs here at home.

Perhaps the most important lasting
solution, which
might well have other benefits in the realm of peace-building, would be
establishment of a nuclear weapons-free, indeed a weapons of mass
destruction-free, zone in the Middle East. Israel's unacknowledged
arsenal of at least 200 warheads will likely not be disposed in any
other, less
comprehensive fashion. While we advocate the global elimination of
weapons, ridding one of the world's most troubled regions of the world's
weapons should be an urgent, near-term priority. The consensus report
from last
month's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference called for a
conference on a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone to be held in
2012. The
U.S. complained, and Israel was mum, as it is not a party to the treaty,
both countries should seize the opportunity presented by this call,
rather than
continue to block progress toward this long-sought goal.

Here's what we can do to prevent a
disastrous war
with Iran, and still respect the security interests of all parties:

  1. Get informed: See further background
    references at:
  2. Don't miss any opportunity to explain
    the better
    solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue than sanctions or war;
  3. Stay alert to mainstream reports that
    leave out
    critical information or provide misleading information (an almost
    occurrence), and respond with letters to the Editor or call in, as
  4. Call or write a personal letter to
    your Senators
    and Congress people, to counter their cave-in to unbalanced media
    reports or
    pressure groups.

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