Two views of Iran’s nuclear threat

Two views of Iran’s nuclear threat

The following is the reaction of Meretz USA board member, Ken Brociner, to M.J. Rosenberg’s column of August 8, “Those Obscene Holocaust Analogies.”

I too was horrified by [Benny] Morris’ [NY Times] op-ed piece and share your basic view of it. But your response here is quite inadequate. You mock the possibility that the Iranian regime might sacrifice “Tehran for Tel Aviv.”

Clearly it is hard to imagine – and I do think it is a highly unlikely scenario. But in order to be serious and intellectually honest about addressing this nightmare scenario, you really do need to directly and specifically address the quotations and information in Yossi Melman and Meir Javedanfar’s “the Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran” (Chapter Three – “A Messianic Vision”).

My understanding is that Melman is a highly respected and credible reporter (and yes, he may also be writing in the service of Israeli intelligence for all I know, but the stuff he has written about is real and verifiable, not fictional). But putting his credibility aside, this chapter is full of factual information that is harrowing and deeply troubling. Your “wave -of -the -hand” dismissal of this utterly bizarre part of the story doesn’t come close to doing justice to the on-the-ground situation in Iran. Plus this book is, by no means, the only book or article that contains the documented evidence that these wackos just might be capable of doing something that to us would seem totally irrational.

MJ., I find it hard to imagine you have NOT read about this – but if you haven’t seen any version of it that you find at all semi-convincing (of the potential, not the certainty) of Iran launching an attack based on their religious fanaticism, then I would strongly urge you to simply read pages 41-59 in Melman’s book.

If after doing so, you still feel that this scenario is so far out that it doesn’t represent a real threat, that’s your right, but you do need to address it with more seriousness in the future – by referring to it and rebutting the specific information that Melman, and many others, have been pointing to.

To be completely candid, your dismissive tone is pretty insulting to lots of people who are not on the lunatic fringe of the Israeli right. There are extremely weird, but undeniable aspects to this story – and they just cannot be dismissed as casually as you have done here.

Sincerely, Ken Brociner

P.S. I would add to Ken’s note the allegation that one or more Iranian leaders have mused about Israel’s nuclear destruction. The following is a quote attributed to Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 2001 (Rafsanjani was the “moderate” opponent to the current president Ahmadinejad):

If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists’ strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality. (December 2001).

Like Ken, I do not advocate a military strike against Iran, because it would not likely succeed and it also would stir up all sorts of violent and economically destructive acts from Iran by way of retaliation. The Iranians need to be reassured by the US that it is not threatening the Islamic regime, but it’s not entirely clear that a diplomatic tool box of carrots and sticks will do the trick in preventing Iran from going nuclear. We have no choice but to hope that it will. In the meantime, Haaretz reports that the US is refusing to assist Israeli preparations for an attack on Iran, warning that such a move runs counter to US interests. – R. Seliger

By | 2008-08-13T04:56:00-04:00 August 13th, 2008|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Anonymous August 13, 2008 at 5:26 am - Reply

    The quote by Rafsanjani was taken out of context. He was explaining why the US is opposed to nuclear weapons in the hands of other countries, not asserting the desire for nuking Israel.

    And, lets look at some history. During the Iran-Iraq war, when Iran had been attacked with WMDs in the form of chemical weapons, resulting in over 80,000 casualites (40 times the 911 casualties) Iran did NOT respond in kind by using chemical weapons even though it had the capability as well as the LEGAL RIGHT to do so — because they considered the use of WMDs to be contrary to Islamic principles.

    Now, considering that the US was providng the chemical weapons and financial aid to Saddam, who is really “irrational”?

  2. Anonymous August 13, 2008 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    The US leaned toward Iraq in the 1980s war, but Israel leaned toward Iran. And one has to wonder if a desperate Saddam Hussein might have used his nuclear arms against Iran if Israel had not destroyed their nuclear reactor in 1981.

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