Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Pursue Diplomacy With Iran

To Newsday, May 1, 2012

As the drumbeats for war with Iran get louder, some in Congress are seeking a diplomatic path to a peaceful alternative ["Tech sanctions put on Syria, Iran," News, April 24].

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill, H.R. 4173, to encourage robust, sustained diplomacy between the United States and Iran. Her efforts are backed by a substantial majority of Americans, 81 percent of whom, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, favor direct diplomatic talks between the two countries to resolve the situation.

The April Istanbul negotiations showed flexibility on both sides. To instead engage in so-called preventive wars is immoral, illegal and ultimately economically hazardous. It's time to energetically pursue the path of peace.

Martin Melkonian, Uniondale, NY (The writer is a board member of the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, a nonprofit activist organization.)

History May Repeat

To Yakima Herald-Republic, April 6, 2012

Because Iran is suspected of working on a nuclear weapon, the U.S. and its allies have placed economic sanctions on the country, cutting it offfrom access to major world banks. So far, President Obama has resisted pressure from Israel to bomb Iran, but Israel is threatening to start the bombing itself. Obama says that we should give sanctions and diplomacy a chance to work, but he also said, "All options are on the table."

Military action in the volatile Middle East could bring unforeseen events. Iran might close the Strait of Hormuz, through which 25 percent of the world's oil flows, and then we'll really see some high gas prices.

Scientist Jacques E.C. Hymans, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, says Iran is not capable of producing a bomb anytime soon. Iran's atomic workers and supervisors lack skills and expertise. Also, Israel has assassinated some of Iran's atomic scientists. Many of Iran's uranium enrichment centrifuges are old, worn and inefficient, and the enrichment program has already been hit with a computer virus attack.

Haven't we seen this movie before? Yes, nine years ago, when we invaded Iraq, looking for weapons of mass destruction. We didn't find any.

Gene Rupel, Yakima, WA

Truth on Iran

To The Wichita Eagle, April 14, 2012

The sabers are rattling again in the U.S. and Israel. The supposed fear is that Iran is very close to building a nuclear bomb. But is it really?

According to the past two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates (2007 and 2011), Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003 when Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussain, was overthrown by the U.S. military.

And though the most recent International Atomic Energy Agency report to the United Nations said that Iran had moved forward with efforts to build a nuclear weapon, closer examination finds that the IAEA certified that Iran has not diverted nuclear materials from peaceful to weapons purposes.

Why must our government be so intent on attacking Iran? Will this be another lie, like the one George W. Bush used to invade Iraq?

I urge people to look deeper for the real truth on Iran, and then do whatever they can to prevent another needless war.

Laurie A. Hartke, Newton, KS

Israel, Günter Grass and the Right to Artistic Licence

To The Guardian, April 8, 2012

What is so exceptional about Günter Grass's verse that it should provoke such political and media hysteria? He merely points out what anyone who studies the Middle East knows: that Israel is trying to bounce the United States into war with Iran by wildly exaggerating Iran's alleged "existential" threat to Israel, regardless of the cataclysmic consequences.

Israel has nuclear weapons; Iran does not. Iran has not seriously threatened Israel: even rhetorically, the textual evidence of any real menace to Israel from Ahmadinejad is overinterpreted and exaggerated. …

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