by Chris Floyd
Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology. Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved. The country denies developing weapons, saying its pursuit of uranium enrichment is for energy purposes.
Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.
This is the truth, but as we all know, the truth doesn't matter. Iran is nowhere near even having the capability to make a nuclear weapon â€“ and there is still no serious or substantial proof that they even intend to make a nuclear bomb, with their supreme religious and political leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, having declared such a development to be sinful.
By the time Iran is capable of making a nuclear weapon, years down the road, a genuine diplomatic engagement with Tehran, coupled with increasing dissatisfaction among almost every sector of Iranian society, could have long defused the artificially created tension that poisons relations today â€“ or even led to "regime change," from within, on terms created by the Iranian people themselves, not foisted on them at the point of a gun.
But again, none of this matters. Iran's "WMD programs," its political repression, its religious fanaticism, its "links to terrorists," even its "interference" in Iraq have absolutely nothing to do with why the Bush Faction and their Israeli outriders want to attack Iran. And no amount of reasonable argument â€“ marshalling plain facts like those above to refute the Bushists' public justifications for conflict â€“ will alter their course. Such arguments are premised on what is best for the common good, not only in the United States but around the world. But the gilded gangsters of the Bush Faction â€“ as they have demonstrated in every possible way at every possible opportunity, over and over and over again for the past six years â€“ are not interested in the common good. They are interested only in policies that they believe will enhance the power and privilege of their own elitist clique.
They have proven that they are more than willing â€“ in fact, frothingly eager â€“ to lie and cheat and manipulate intelligence in order to launch wars of aggression that serve the gang's interests. They have proven that they are willing to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people â€“ to crush them like bugs under a bootheel â€“ in order to serve the gang's interests. They have proven that they are willing to destabilize the entire world, squander the lives of their own soldiers, rob their own people blind and strip them of their ancient liberties in order to serve the gang's interest.
There is nothing â€“ absolutely nothing â€“ in their proven, copious, public record to indicate that they will not pursue an attack on Iran in order to serve the gang's interests. The hellstorm that will follow such a war crime â€“ like the foreseen hellstorm that arose in the wake of the war crime in Iraq â€“ is of no concern to them. Whatever the consequences, whatever the blowback, they will be protected from it â€“ financially and personally, safe behind a phalanx of lifelong security, with public and private muscle at their command, and sustained by the mountains of blood money they and their corporate cohorts have mined from their wars and rumors of war.
This too is a plain fact: They will attack Iran â€“ unless they are removed office, or else crippled by Congress and the courts, and by mass, sustained public resistance, to such an extent that they can no longer act freely. Neither of these scenarios seems likely at the moment â€“ especially with Democrats falling all over themselves to prove they are more bellicose than the Bushists when it comes to Iran. Still, what else can we do but work to bring the truth to light and hope against hope that it will have some effect?
POSTSCRIPT: Let's add another plain fact here, one which have noted before, but bears repeating: The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, does not control Iran's armed forces. He does not control Iran's nuclear program. To be sure, he is a prating, full-of-himself religious crank like George W. Bush, but no matter how inflammatory his rhetoric (some of which has been deliberately mistranslated), even if he picked up the phone tomorrow and ordered an all-out attack on Israel or a barrage of missile strikes on American forces in Iraq or the shut-down of the Straits of Hormuz â€“ nothing would happen. Nothing. In the Iranian system of government, he does not have the power to make any of his rhetoric regarding military and foreign policy come true. (See also: Reality and Revisionism in Iran.)
The Bush Administration knows this. The Olmert government knows this. Yet at every turn, they inflate Ahmadinejad into yet another "new Hitler" and pretend that he has dictatorial powers in Iran. But just as his predecessor, Mohammed Khatami, could not make his heartfelt rhetoric about reforming Iran come true, neither can Ahmadinejad do anything at all to actualize whatever fantasies he may mouth.
It might be worth remembering this fact in the coming weeks, as the Bush gang heats up the war fever by waving the Ahmadinejad bogeyman at every opportunity.