Magazine article The Spectator

Whom Should We Believe?

Magazine article The Spectator

Whom Should We Believe?

Article excerpt

A Dangerous Delusion: Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran by Peter Oborne and David Morrison Elliott & Thompson, £8.99, pp. 112, ISBN 97819087139896 Whether the United States is a force for global peace is not really up for debate in the self-described 'indispensable nation', though the question sharply divides opinion almost everywhere else. By focusing on America's fixation with Iran, this short and angry book argues against.

The book's polemic is built on good foundations: we are often told that Iran is a rogue nuclear state, yet it does not possess nuclear weapons. As a signatory to the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to a peaceful nuclear energy programme as long as it is monitored by UN inspectors.

However, ten years of negotiations aimed at persuading Iran to stop have led nowhere.

The US permits Israel and India - which haven't signed up to the NPT - to possess nuclear weapons, while Iran's 'inalienable right' to uranium enrichment has incurred America's wrath.

The authors quote Sir John Sawers, the MI6 chief and formerly in charge of the Iran file at the Foreign Office, as saying that 'Washington would never tolerate the operation of even one centrifuge in Iran.' So European Union negotiators have gone along with Washington's hypocrisy. As has the UN, which has passed six resolutions against Iran, even though its monitored nuclear facilities do not cross the UN's threshold of a 'threat to the peace'.

US Intelligence, chastened into accuracy by failure in Iraq, reckons Iran halted its weapons programme back in 2003, while any attempt to enrich uranium to the required level for a nuclear device would surely set off UN inspectors' alarm bells today. Unlikely anyway, because Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, issued a fatwa in 2005 outlawing atom bombs and repeatedly claims he doesn't want them.

The book's conclusion? That the US, Britain and Israel should be kicked out of the UN for unjustifiably threatening military force.

And yet. Whom should we believe? Iran, the United States, or a plague on both? This polemic's foundations wobble when placed under closer inspection themselves. …

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