Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Iran: The Growing Threat

        The Soviet Union used to boast that it was the "worker's paradise", a phony claim that the free world saw through. In the same way, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Republic claims to stand for the oppressed of the earth, while it oppresses its own people mercilessly. Early in 2010, when it appeared there would be May Day demonstrations in Tehran, the regime rounded up and jailed trade unionists to forestall any such actions. Labor Unions in Europe and America, who usually object to such suppression of workers' rights by a repressive regime, said nothing.

        After the growing problem of Iran's threat to its neigbors in the Middle East and to the world at large and, most especially to the state of Israel, became apparent, there were dozens of articles in the media on this subject. All agreed that Iran's government is a theocratic dictatorship, that it ruthlessly stamps out dissent, that it represses women and violates all the principles of human rights, and that it continues its efforts to acquire nuclear waepons and to develop long range missiles to carry them. Since then, however, the emphasis on Iran's threat has diminished and the public's attention has drifted to other subjects. Well, lest we forget, let me remind you of some recent developments in Iran's insidious quest for world recognition and acceptance.
         The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has recently elected Iran to a seat on the Women's Rights Commission. Actually, that group was formerly called the Commission on the Status of Women, but it was getting a bad press so it changed its name. It now describes itself as the UN's principal global policy making body for, get this, "gender equality and advancement of women...." Even the US Mission to the UN, which in previous years could be counted on to point up the irony of such inappropriate  acts, raised no objection to this travesty. It did not call for a vote but went along with Iran's election by acclamation.
        In addition, Iran was one of sixteen new members elected to four-year terms on the UN's Commission on Science and Technology for Development, and one of fifteen elected to the governing council of UN-Habitat, which is the UN's Settlement Agency.  Venezuela, that stalwart champion of democracy under Hugo Chavez, was also elected to this body.  And the UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has seated four members by acclamation, including Iran.  It should be noted, too, that Iran sits on the governing council of the UN Environment Program and on the Executive Boards of UNICEF and the UN Development Program.        
         When, not if but when, Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will become the most powerful regional force in the Middle East.  Not only will it dominate the Middle East, it will become a dominant power in the United Nations, as well. It can then be expected to increase its overt support for the terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and it will most likely try to control shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly half the world's oil exports flow. There is also a genuine fear that Iran, which has proven its willingness to supply arms and munitions to those fighting the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, may also be willing to provide nuclear weapons and/or technology , together with missiles, to those same enemies of the US, as well as to Hugo Chavez in this hemisphere. Such a move would greatly affect the entire political structure of the Americas.      

        Until now, neither Europe nor the US has met this challenge head on, but time is growing shorter when the issues surrounding Iran's quest for nuclear weaponry will have to be confronted squarely. There is increasing speculation by many international pundits as to the possibility that Israel may feel compelled to take military action, since it is threatened most directly and specifically by Iran's acquisition of nukes. The lack of action by Europe and the US makes that possibility more likely.

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