On the war path

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report claims ‘credible’evidence that Iran is working towards developing nuclear weapons. It details Iran’s activities in the nuclear field and argues that some of these are ‘specific to nuclear weapons.’ The report’s findings are what Israel and the US have been wanting for a while but were not able to get so long as the independent-minded Mohamed ElBaradei was at the helm of the IAEA. Now that the watchdog body is headed by Yukiya Amano, who is “solidly in the US court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons programme,” as revealed by Wikileaks, a report whose finding favours US-Israel plans has been presented. The road to war against Iran has been readied. The IAEA report will be used to justify tough action against Iran. In the coming weeks, the US will push for stern sanctions against Iran. The extremely bellicose rhetoric emanating from Tel Aviv is aimed at frightening the international community into imposing sanctions on Iran. The international community must not allow itself to be bullied by such threats.

The US went down a similar road in the run up to its invasion of Iraq. First it made hysterical accusations of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, then imposed sanctions and finally invaded Iraq against the wishes of much of the world. A similar plan of action is in the works vis-à-vis Iran. Israeli president Shimon Peres’ warning that a military attack against Iran is ‘now closer to being applied’ is ominous.

An attack on Iran might push up the sagging political fortunes of US president Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But its immediate and long-term consequences for the world are at best disastrous. In the event of war, Iran is sure to block the Straits of Hormuz. Choking off a waterway through which a third of the world’s oil passes will push oil prices through the roof, worsening the global economic woes. More importantly, Iran unlike Iraq will strike back and it will do so either by itself or by prompting the Hezbollah to rain down missiles on Israel. Israel and the US must back off from confrontation immediately. The dialogue and diplomacy option is still open.

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