Former chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter tears down the arguments frequently used to build the narrative of Iran as the new enemy. These points are self-evident under minimal scrutiny, and frequently mentioned by informed analysts—yet the cable news stations persistently avoid these arguments completely, broadcasting instead a continuous stream of uncorroborated rhetoric.
On Iran’s nuclear energy program:
On every point, the case made against Iran collapses upon closer scrutiny. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), mandated to investigate Iran’s nuclear programs, has concluded that there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, the IAEA has concluded that it is capable of monitoring the Iranian nuclear program to ensure that it does not deviate from the permitted nuclear energy program Iran states to be the exclusive objective of its endeavors.
On Iran’s support for Hezballah:
Iran’s support of the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon – Iranian protestors shown here supporting Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an anti-Israel rally – while a source of concern for the State of Israel, does not constitute a threat to American national security primarily because the support provided is primarily defensive in nature, designed to assist Hezbollah in deterring and repelling an Israeli assault of sovereign Lebanese territory. Similarly, the bulk of the data used by the United States to substantiate the claims that Iran is a state sponsor of terror is derived from the aforementioned support provided to Hezbollah.
On Iranian involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan:
The US claims concerning Iranian interference in both Iraq and Afghanistan ignore the reality that both nations border Iran, both nations were invaded and occupied by the United States, not Iran, and that Iran has a history of conflict with both nations that dictates a keen interest concerning the internal domestic affairs of both nations. The United States continues to exaggerate the nature of Iranian involvement in Iraq, arresting “intelligence operatives” who later turned out to be economic and diplomatic officials invited to Iraq by the Iraqi government itself. Most if not all the claims made by the United States concerning Iranian military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been backed up with anything stronger than rhetoric, and more often than not are subsequently contradicted by other military and governmental officials, citing a lack of specific evidence.
On Ahmadinejad’s statements regarding Israel:
Iran as a nation represents absolutely no threat to the national security of the United States, or of its major allies in the region, including Israel. The media hype concerning alleged statements made by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has created and sustained the myth that Iran seeks the destruction of the State of Israel. Two points of fact directly contradict this myth. First and foremost, Ahmadinejad never articulated an Iranian policy objective to destroy Israel, rather noting that Israel’s policies would lead to its “vanishing from the pages of time.” Second, and perhaps most important, Ahmadinejad does not make foreign policy decisions on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the sole purview of the “Supreme Leader,” the Ayatollah
Khomeini[sic] Khamenei. In 2003 Khomeini[sic] Khamenei initiated a diplomatic outreach to the United States inclusive of an offer to recognize Israel’s right to exist. This initiative was rejected by the United States, but nevertheless represents the clearest indication of what the true policy objective of Iran is vis-à-vis Israel.
Ritter also notes:
But the notion of claiming a nation like Iran to constitute a security threat simply because it retains the intent and capability to defend its sovereign territory in the face of unprovoked military aggression is absurd. In the end, however, such absurdity is trumping fact-based reality when it comes to shaping the opinion of the American public on the issue of the Iranian “threat.”
Irancove @ October 9, 2007