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Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Jasmin Ramsey

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Hawks on Iran

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Lobe Log publishes Hawks on Iran every Friday. Our posts highlight militaristic commentary and confrontational policy recommendations about Iran from a variety of sources including news articles, think tanks and pundits.

Joe Lieberman, RFE/RL: The independent senator who said in April that if Iran “is approaching a nuclear weapons capability, then we have to act militarily” reiterates his stance more explicitly:

“So, we’re coming to a point where there will only be two choices for not just the U.S and Israel but other countries.” Lieberman said. “Will we simply sit back and let Iran become a nuclear power and destabilize the region and start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East? Or will we be compelled to take some military action to delay or destroy that program?”

He said it “doesn’t make any sense” to wait until Iran actually possesses nuclear weapons to take military action. “What we are saying,” he said, “is [that] we have to be ready, if all else fails — economic sanctions, diplomacy, etc.”

But many, even in the intelligence community, have suggested that an attack on Iran would not totally eliminate the Islamic republic’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, since Iran’s nuclear facilities are believed to be located deep underground or inside mountains.

Asked about that, Lieberman replied that a military strike would at least delay Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and buy time until a new Iranian regime, possibly more amenable to negotiations, came to power.

“I think we have the capability either to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program or to disable it in a way that it will be delayed for enough years that we may hope and pray that there will be a regime change and that there will be a more democratic and friendly regime,” he said.

Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations: While referencing a poorly sourced and unverifiable Wall Street Journal report alleging that Iran is militarily involved in Syria, Abrams agrees with a Washington Post editorial board op-ed calling American policy today “reprehensible” and “morally indefensible” for its passivity”:

We appear to have concluded that passivity is the best policy, that nothing important is at stake, and that an Iranian victory is nothing much to be concerned about. We appear unconcerned as well about public opinion in the Arab world, where people can hear Syrian rebels criticizing the United States for providing only rhetorical support and being indifferent to their slaughter. The president who traveled to Cairo in 2009 to court Arab opinion has apparently decided that speeches are one thing, and action another.

I have little to add to the Post’s rhetoric in its editorial today. This is a shameful, and damaging, moment in American foreign policy.

Washington Post Editorial Board: The hawkish editorial board puts the blame squarely on Iran for the diplomatic impasse over its nuclear program and a devastating war that may result over it:

Tehran’s refusal to negotiate seriously and its continuing buildup of nuclear capacity is nevertheless steadily increasing the danger that the Middle East will be engulfed by a new war — one that could interrupt oil supplies, damage the global economy and exacerbate the sectarian conflict already underway in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. An optimistic view would be that Iran is playing a familiar game of brinkmanship. If so, there may not be much more time to step back.

John McCain, Republican National Convention: Even NBC’s Chris Matthews was taken aback by the former presidential candidates militarist speech at the RNC this week. Here’s what McCain had to say about Iran (and Syria):

When Iranians rose up by the millions against their
repressive rulers, when day beseeched our president, chanting in
English, “Are you with us or are you with them?”  When the
entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot
and bled to death in a street in Tehran, the president missed an
historic opportunity to throw America’s full moral support
behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest
interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized
the Middle East and threatens the world.
(APPLAUSE)

In other times, when other courageous people fought for
their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States,
American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted
to help them prevail.
(APPLAUSE)
Sadly — sadly for the lonely voices of descent in Syria
and Iran and elsewhere in the world will feel forgotten in their
darkness and sadly for us, as well.  Our president is not being
true to our values.
(APPLAUSE)
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of
people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow
citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our
nation, the nation founded on the idea that all people
everywhere have the right to freedom and justice.  We must
return to our best traditions of American leadership and support
those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and
our enemies.

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About the Author

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A multilingual Iranian-born journalist, Jasmin Ramsey is the editor and manager of the well-known U.S. Mideast policy site, LobeLog, and the Washington correspondent for the international news wire service, IPS News. Under her leadership LobeLog was recognized by the Economist as an essential stop for Iran coverage. Ramsey was also named one of the Guardian’s top ten Twitter accounts to follow on Iran in 2014. Her current work focuses on U.S.-Iran relations, U.S. foreign policy, and mideast affairs. You can email her at jasmin[dot]ramsey[at]gmail[dot]com.



One Response to Hawks on Iran

  1. avatar Ekhvan Safa says:

    “If a lie is repeated many times it will be taken as true.” Iran doesn’t have a nuclear bomb program, period. Isn’t it funny that a nuclear power Israel feels intimidated by a country that has zero nuclear bomb? According to mainstream media we have to belive it since no alternative explanation is offered. Insecurity of citizens of Israel has to be taken in face value, but the insecurity of ordinary citizens who suffer undue hardship due to economaic sanctions and go to bet frightened every night waiting for Israeli/American strike is a figment of imagination.

    Let me break the news for Mr. Lieberman: polls in Europe and elsewhere say repeatedly that the most dangerous country to the world peace is Israel. I bet if the opinion polls are taken outside of Europe and Norht America, United States will not be too far behind in terms of being a an agressive “rogue” state. Of course, as Hegel said, if reality does not fit my ideas, too bad for reality. The truth is that most people in North America live in alternative universe created by media and pundits. No alternative explanation is not allowed.

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