By Jan Oberg
Today is New Year – Norooz – for 300 million people. It is Equinox. It is International Day of Happiness – and it is the 12th Anniversary of the US-led war on Iraq
The nuclear deal and Israel
One must hope that the new year brings a fair deal concerning the nuclear issues between Iran and the members of the UN Security Council + Germany.
If the U.S. will not sign because it insists that the counterproductive and unfair sanctions shall not be lifted completely and as soon as technically possible, the deal should be signed with the other parties. The US must have no monopoly on this.
One must also hope that Israel will not attack Iran – but with the re-election of PM Netanyahu that risk has increased.
He seems to be obsessed about a threat from Iran, a country that has not invaded any other country for more than 250 years, has no nuclear weapons and considers nuclear weapons “haram” – strictly forbidden.
With a 10 times larger population Iran has roughly the same military expenditures as Israel.
It was in 1993, Netanyahu began to talk about Iran going nuclear in a few years and being a threat to Israel and the world.
This should also be the year in which Israel’s nuclear weapons come into international focus.
One cannot feel safe with perhaps 200 nuclear weapons being at the disposal of a person operating on unreal enemy images and what is now known in Israel and internationally as flip-flopping on his policies and statements from one day to the next.
It’s time to implement – seriously – the Middle East as a zone free of nuclear weapons. 161 countries in the UN general Assembly is for it; and Israel is the only state in the region refusing to become party to the Treaty.
And it is time to treat Israel as a normal state with a duty like everybody else to adhere to international law, to end its out-of-proportion international influence and its de facto status as “exceptionalist” state.
Much of this will depend on its future relationship with the U.S. and one must assume that Netanyahu has calculated with the risk that his Israel will have to orient itself away from the United States and also the EU.
This would likely mean cultivating closer relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states etc., even ISIS – promising them his nuclear umbrella and supporting a further militarisation of the mentioned authoritarian, militarist states – Saudi Arabia now the largest importer of arms in the world and major funder of ISIS.
Even though the idea isn’t new the creation of a pan-Arab Army has just been revived by the Arab League.
Such a scenario is pretty obviously directed against predominantly Shiite Iran and will need further boosts of the mantra that “Iran is a threat to the world”.
It must be remembered that PM Netanyahu was also a vivid supporter of the war on Iraq. That conflict also dealt with issues of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, false threats and sanctions.
Twelve years later today we know that that war was yet another predictable fiasco on its own terms and based on a series of lies.
The majority of the roughly 1 million innocent Iraqis died due to sanctions and not, as many think, due to the war.
To use Netanyahu’s words in this different, more relevant context: It must not happen again in Iran!
On these two main issues, please find a few articles with more objective analytical approaches:
New year greetings
TFF wishes everyone who celebrates Norooz a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.
In particular and personally, I’d like to send my best wishes to all TFF’s friends and partners in Iran on this day:
The diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, students and professors at Tehran University, other research institutes and think tanks, the staff at the Tehran Peace Museum, members of civil society organisations – as well as my friends in the world of contemporary art and friends in Isfahan, Arak, Shiraz and elsewhere.
I’m grateful for all I have learnt about Iran’s great civilisation and its contemporary policies, society and culture, for your hospitality, openness and willingness to co-operate with TFF about a series of issues that we hope will develop further in the new year.
Eide shoma mobarak!