neocon nightmares of Iranian nukes kaput?
Source Jim Devine
Date 12/03/04/16:00

from Juan Cole:
Khamenei Takes Control, Forbids Nuclear Bomb

EARLY RETURNS in Iran’s 9th parliamentary election since the 1979
revolution show that Ahmadinejad’s lay populists have taken a
drubbing, and that hard line supporters of clerical Supreme Leader Ali
Khamenei are ascendant. Ahmadinejad’s sister, Parvin, who stood for
election from their own hometown of Garmsar, was defeated, a major
blow to the president.

Western reporters keep saying that the parliamentary results have no
implication for Iran’s nuclear program. But they only say this because
they either don’t pay attention to what Iranian leaders actually say,
or discount their statements as lies (treating them much less
respectfully than they treated notorious fraud Andrew Breitbart in
their fluffy obituaries last week).

A week and a half ago, Khamenei gave a major foreign policy speech in
which he said,

““The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue
nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the
countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons
because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and
theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin
and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless,
destructive and dangerous.”

Now, you could maintain that Khamenei is lying when he says he holds
that possessing nuclear weapons is a grave sin. (You could also
maintain that the Popes are lying when they say using birth control is
a grave matter, but you’d have to explain why they put their papal
authority on the line for a lie they weren’t forced to utter). But
even if you think it is a lie, you have at least to report what he
says. I guarantee you that Khamenei’s speech opposing nukes was not so
much as mentioned on any of the major American news broadcasts.

Khamenei has also repeatedly said that Iran has a ‘no first strike’
policy, that it will not fire the first shot in any conflict.

And if you hold that Khamenei, as a leading clerical authority, is
being dishonest on this issue, then surely you should offer some
proof. Perhaps he has flip-flopped over time? But no. Here is Khamenei
in 2010:

““We have said repeatedly that our religious beliefs and
principles prohibit such weapons as they are the symbol of destruction
of generations. And for this reason we do not believe in weapons and
atomic bombs and do not seek them.”

Or 2009, when Khamenei said,

“They (Western countries) falsely accuse the Islamic republic’s
establishment of producing nuclear weapons. We fundamentally reject
nuclear weapons and prohibit the use and production of nuclear
weapons. This is because of our ideology, not because of politics or
fear of arrogant powers or an onslaught of international propaganda.
We stand firm for our ideology.”

I could go on providing the same sort of quotes going back years.

It seems to me that one implication of pro-Khamenei hard liners
dominating parliament is that the Supreme Leader’s authority has been
enhanced. And he is deploying his authority to forbid the acquisition
of a nuclear warhead.

Warmongers attempting to drag the United States into yet another
ruinous (or, rather, infinitely more ruinous) war in the Middle East
have typically focused their propaganda on the person of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The president, now nearing the end of his second
and last term, is easy to ridicule and easy to demonize, because of
his quirky personality and colorful gaffes. He has been called a
“Hitler” by Rick Santorum, and the Neoconservatives depict him as a
madman bent on bringing the world to an end. (Ahmadinejad, unlike most
establishment Shiite clerics, thinks that the Muslim promised one or
Mahdi will come soon, and this millenarian belief has been taken
advantage of by Neocons, who inaccurately allege that the belief could
push the president to support apocalyptic policies.) It has been
alleged that Ahmadinejad is a mass-murdering hard liner, seeking
nuclear weapons with which to destroy Israel.

This puzzling emphasis on Ahmadinejad comes despite the president’s
relative lack of power in the Iranian system. The commander in chief
of the armed forces is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Who sets nuclear
policy? Ali Khamenei. In Iran, the “president” is more like a vice
president (think Joe Biden) than a real executive.

Ahmadinejad could not even fire an intelligence minister (Haidar
Moslehi) he disliked last spring. Khamenei reinstated him. Ahmadinejad
sulked and wouldn’t attend cabinet meetings for a while, but
eventually got over himself. Hitler indeed.

Just last month, even the old parliament voted to make Ahmadinejad
appear before the legislature to explain his economic policies, the
first time a president has been interpellated by parliament in the
Islamic Republic. Some in parliament have even spoken of impeaching
Ahmadinejad, which they’d be in a position to do after these

So, to conclude: Ahmadinejad is not very much like Hitler. He can’t
give an order to the Iranian military independently of Khamenei, who
can over-rule him at will. He can’t make his own pick of cabinet
ministers, and so can’t build up an independent power base. He has
been threatened by parliament. His party lost the 2012 elections big
time. His own sister couldn’t win a seat in their home town. He is a
lame duck. So there is no point in demonizing him, or pretending he
has an atomic bomb, or that he would be the one to deploy a bomb if
Iran possessed one, which it does not.

For the Neoconservatives, the jig is up.

Khamenei’s hand has been significantly strengthened. And he has
signalled to the Iranian people yet again that he won’t use that
strength for belligerent purposes or to pursue a nuclear warhead,
which the Iranian ayatollahs consider a tool of the devil– since you
can’t deploy it without killing large numbers of civilian

That these developments can be commented on in Western media without
Khamenei’s speech being mentioned or it being noted that he strongly
opposes nukes is baffling.

[View the list]

InternetBoard v1.0
Copyright (c) 1998, Joongpil Cho