The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently referred to Israel as “the occupying regime of Al-Quds [Jerusalem],” describing it as a “disgraceful blot” that ought to be “wiped off the map.” He was officiating at a “World Without Zionism” university conference, a forum duplicated like viral RNA on campuses the world over.
The UN, which has underwritten similar conferences, convened an emergency tea and crumpets session. Did members of the Security Council expel Iran for threatening genocide against a member state? Don’t be silly—they simply condemned Ahmadinejad. As did the European Parliament. For their part, Ahmadinejad’s Iranian supporters blamed the Jews for daring to deflect attention from the plight of the Palestinians to their own threatened demise. As for the Palestinians, they’ve already wiped Israel off their maps, cartographically at least.
The wickedly stupid online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, expressed confidence in the Islamic Republic’s “constitutional” separation of powers: Ahmadinejad hasn’t the authority to declare war on Israel; only Iran’s Supreme Leader has. However, before warning all Arab countries against recognizing Israel’s right to exist, this gabbing gorgon assured coreligionists that his prescription for Israel bore the imprimatur of Iran’s first Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini.
It’s unlikely Khomeini’s cankered successor (Ali) would diverge. In any event, to prosecute an illegal and unjust war, George Bush overcame the obstacles American democracy placed in his path. Ahmadinejad, no doubt, has the will to find a way around the Iranian theocracy’s “checks and balances.”
Muslims don’t disguise their finer feelings about Jews—no more than the Institute for Historical Review and its various patrons, Ahmadinejad included, do. Speak to Muslims from Baghdad to Birmingham to Bellingham and you’ll likely hear the kind of “crude anti-Semitic propaganda unheard since Streicher,” to quote Serge Trifkovic. That notorious anti-Semitic Tsarist forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” is a best seller across Arabia. Holocaust denial is as popular.
Neither is Ahmadinejad the first Iranian ruler to promise atomic retribution against Israel. According to William Sweet, writing in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer’s Spectrum Magazine, the former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said this:
“If one day…the world of Islam is mutually equipped with the kind of weapons Israel presently possesses, the world’s arrogant strategy will then come to a dead end, because the use of an atomic bomb on Israel won’t leave anything; however in the world of Islam [use of a bomb] will just cause harm, and this scenario is not far fetched.”
To destroy the Jewish state, he’s willing to dispatch Arabs with the same clinical detachment. Clearly, the problem with Mad Mahmoud and his predecessors isn’t their fondness for pseudo-history, but their love of authentic (nuclear) science.
As Sweet has reported—and as Mohamed ElBaradei, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has confirmed in a number of subsequent reports—the country with “the world’s largest reserves of fossil fuels” is assembling the nuclear wherewithal with a speed and determination not seen since the heyday of Iraq’s infamous nuclear weapons program of the 1980s.”
The IAEA, which “operates the world’s most elaborate tripwire system,” is scared stiff, warning of a pattern and scope of violations hitherto unseen in the agency’s experience. ElBaradei, you will recall, was right all along about Iraq. On Feb. 14, 2003, he stated categorically that there was no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in that country.
This cautious man is now sounding the alarm about an Iranian nuclear program which “consists of practically everything needed to fuel a reactor or in effect to produce materials for bombs, including uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and heavy water production.”
“[Iran’s]assets, at Natanz, include a centrifuge pilot plant capable of churning out about 12 kilograms of bomb-grade material a year…as well as a large, commercial-scale plant still under construction. The larger plant, to be situated in a hardened bunker 20 meters underground, could produce as much as half a ton to a ton of weapons-grade material a year. Iran is also known to have operated a more technologically sophisticated laser-enrichment pilot plant a few years ago, producing small amounts of lightly enriched uranium.”
These activities are not all illegal under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; secrecy about them is. Last month, DEBKAfile reported that “Iran’s hard-line Guardian Council, the real power in the land… ratified a parliamentary decision to block UN inspections should the Islamic republic’s nuclear activities be referred to the UN Security Council for sanctions. In August, uranium conversion was resumed.”
Robert Einhorn, top proliferation specialist in the Clinton administration, agrees: Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Her supporters disagree. They say Ahmadinejad is only “playing to the base.” His bellicose threats they treat as mere exotic idiosyncrasies. And they draw moral equivalence between Israel and Iran: “Israel has nuclear weapons. Why not Iran?”
Other apologists have framed Iran’s nuclear belligerence as the “ultimate safeguard against an attack.” The reference is, presumably, to Iran’s legitimate quest to defend against an American army that advanced on a neighbor—Iraq—and conquered it in the absence of provocation.
That Iran fears an out-of-control, aggressive U.S. is likely—and understandable. However, Iran’s Majnun-in-Chief hasn’t threatened the United States; he has threatened Israel. Yet Iranophiles seldom depict Israel’s nuclear program as an equally legitimate, last-ditch defense. Instead, they contort like Cirque du Soleil contortionists to downplay the threat Iran poses to Israel.
To their credit, Muslims make no bones about the need to solve the Jewish Question for once and for all. (In case you’re a public school graduate, this is code for liquidation.) It’s time Iran’s dissembling defenders were as honest.
© 2006 By Ilana Mercer