Friday, May 12, 2006

No Nukes, No Nonsense on Iran

There's some unsettling news out of Iran today as UN inspectors say they found "traces of near bomb-grade enriched uranium on nuclear equipment."

Iran's no less troubling response, coming from Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi, was this: "These comments lack any importance and do not come from a real source." The source, for sake of argument, is the IAEA.

I am aware that there are a number of my colleagues on the left who are sure that the Bush administration is looking for whatever excuse it can find to declare war on Iran and that a discovery such as this plays right into neo-con hands. I wouldn't say that such a fear is entirely unfounded, but it bears mentioning that the existence of questionable goals on one side in no way precludes the same from the other side.

Nuclear disarmament has long been a goal on the left and our ranks are filled with eloquent advocates of non-proliferation such as Sloane Coffin, Jr. and Jonathan Schell. As the debate over Iran becomes more rancorous in the coming days and weeks, there may be a temptation to conflate a hard line on Iranian nuclear interests with a bellicose, pro-Bush stance. Amidst all the fuss, let's not forget that it would be a big deal for Iran to have a nuclear weapons program. With every nation that joins the nuclear club, the world becomes more perilous. We can shy away from war without shying away from that stark reality.
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