When the International Atomic Energy Agency released its reportthis week claiming “credible” evidence that Iran has been seeking to develop a nuclear weapon since at least 2003, the responses of right-wing demagogues were predictable, if alarming.
The narrative was simple, echoing an old trope most recently rehashed after the United States claimed to have foiled an Iranian assassination plot in Washington: sanctions have failed, Iran will never “respond” to diplomacy, and war is the only option. “Diplomacy has never resolved problems with Iran,” writes Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute. “Only overwhelming pain will convince the supreme leader that the Islamic Republic cannot shoulder the costs of his quest.” (Rubin once wrote to Right Web complaining that we unfairly accused him of wanting to attack Iran.)
Rubin’s apparent bloodlust might seem marginal in a less toxic diplomatic environment. But his comments come amid a flurry of anti-Iranian posturing in Washington as well as Tel Aviv, where factions of Netanyahu’s cabinet have reportedly been pressing for a unilateral strike on Iran. Defying the Israeli government’s official silence in response to the report, Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted that Israel could attack Iran and suffer “not even 500” casualties, and President Simon Peres remarked earlier this week that “The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option.”
Meanwhile in Washington, while neoconservative commentators were preparing their remarks that diplomacy doesn’t work with Iran, members of Congress were setting about ensuring that it wouldn’t. Led by the hard-right Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced last week aharsh sanctions bill that would effectively criminalize most contact between U.S. diplomats and Iranian officials. Paul Pillar noted at the National Interest that the bill “would prevent any exploration of ways to resolve disagreement over that Iranian nuclear program that we are supposedly so intensely concerned about,” concluding that it “vividly illustrates how mindless the pressuring and isolation of Iran has become.” Another bill passed by the committee would impose stringent sanctions on Iran’s central bank, something Iran previously said it would consider an act of war.
Even the United Kingdom is reportedly preparing plans to attack Iran.
Although a few doubts have been raised about the report’s findings and implications, John Glaser has ventured a possible rationale for Iran’s nuclear ambitions: namely, the U.S. has invaded and occupied the countries to Iran’s east and west, continues to run warships in the Persian Gulf, has cultivated client states hostile to Iran, and has waged a covert campaign of assassination and cyber warfare against the country. “In such an environment,” Glaser asks, “why wouldn’t the Iranian government want a nuclear weapon?”
Still, Mark Dubowitz of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin that “no one can reasonably argue that countries threatened by Iran have not tried all peaceful alternatives.”
Well, by that measure of “peaceful,” all but one.
Right Web Profiles
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), based in Washington D.C., has been a leading member of the neoconservative advocacy community for nearly three decades and is one…
The neoconservative FDD claims to be waging a war to save democratic countries from “radical Islamism” and other “anti-democratic forces.”
Supported in part by rightwing donors from the “Israel Lobby,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has used her perch as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to push hawkish policies in the Middle East and Latin America.
Jennifer Rubin uses her perch at the Washington Post to attack Republicans and Democrats whom she perceives to be weak on U.S. defense and insufficiently supportive of her militarist views of Israeli security.
Rubin, a “scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute who has attacked what he call’s Right Web’s “fake, conspiracy riddled biographies,” views the revolt in Egypt through the lens of Iran’s Islamic revolution.
Right Web Articles
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On March 13, 2011, Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog published an entry from Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise…
John Glaser, “IAEA On Iran: Nothing But Know-How,” AntiWar.com, November 7, 2011
“Iran is on the defensive, not the offensive. If the U.S. and its allies reversed [their] aggressive militaristic postures and rhetoric and terrorism…the Iranian nuclear issue would be moot.”