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Web Letter

Iran still needs to comply with the IAEA, the intelligence report doesn't change that. I don't see any reason for them to laugh, as they are still denying that they ever had a program. The report says that the program was suspended. If one believes the report is accurate, then one believes Iran is still lying about its nuclear program. I don't find that very comforting, and it certainly puts into question the credibility of anything Iran says about a weapons program (the report says Iran continues to enrich uranium and could have a bomb in three years). Considering that the invasion into Iraq was the thing the report states as causing the suspension in the program, it seems the deterrent towards war is not irresponsible at all.

I think the worrisome aspect is that something suspended doesn't mean it was forever ended. We really need Iran to fully open up, the whole purpose of the iaea and the inspections being to prevent the need for a strike like on Iraq. If they still refuse to comply, then the action of refusal trumps the intelligence report as regards international cooperation and sanctions and how close to the edge not just we but a proud Iran with nothing to hide should be seeking to take their refusal.

Frank Taylor

Baltimore, MD

Dec 4 2007 - 4:51pm

Web Letter

The new National Intelligence summary provide an opportunity for a more intelligent approach to relations between Iran and the US, but neither the Bush Administration or Israel are likely to take advantage of this opportunity. It is their policy to scare the Arab world, Americans, Israelis and Europeans with the Iranian nuclear threat in order to justify a conflict with that country and/or construct a missile defense system for the defense contractor's bottom line However,this report will make their work more difficult. The American people and the military were not too keen on a war with Iran even before this report, and it is likely that there will be next to zero support for it after this report.

While there is a strong possibility that the Democrats will occupy the White House, I am not optimistic that they have the brains to take advantage of this situation. We need a foreign policy that works to brings people together and not divide them. Pitting the Arab Middle East and Israel against Iran is not the answer. We should be mitigating problems and not creating them. I don't think we can change the Israeli mind set, but we could deal with the Arab/Iranian divide and the Sunni/Shia divide through diplomacy.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 4 2007 - 4:22pm

Web Letter

The fact that two major events of this past week, Hugo Chávez supporting the democratic process in his socialist country and the report that Iran stopped working on a nuclear program four years ago, are not blasting from every major televison, radio and print media 24/7 and the fact that reporters are not "hammering" Bush on both issues, which, if had been left unchecked would have led to war in Iran and Venezuela, is more than enough proof supporting the "fact" that most of the mainstream media are either very professional or leaning right for some unknown reason.

We all know that a left-winged media machine would have destroyed Bush this week, but instead, I see reporters asking polite questions of Mr. Bush and allowing him to answer without much follow-up to his rediculous responses.

My biggest concern now, though, is what else did or do Cheney and Bush have cooking, just in case their march against Iran and Venezuela falls apart? Remember, you can be paranoid and not so crazy if people are really out to get you.

Lucem Ferre

Thorndale, PA

Dec 4 2007 - 1:15pm

Web Letter

Both the article and the comment that followed were excellent. The consequences of an air war involving the US and Israel on one side and Iran on the other side are mind-boggling. Major consequences might include the destruction of the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona, and the many Iranian nuclear facilities, would be many Chernobyls.

With all this fuss over nuclear weapons, one should also consider that most of the destruction of cities like Dresden in Europe or cities in Japan in World War II were caused by conventional munitions. Does anyone want Israel or Iran to look like Dresden? With just conventional munitions, we are looking at "Mutually Assured Destruction" in a war involving Iran and Israel. The radioactive fallout from these many Middle Eastern Chernobyls could cover the globe.

There needs to be inclusive diplomacy without preconditions. I would also suggest that the "Arab" Middle East would not take kindly to an Iranian sphere of influence in their territory. Islam knows no ethnic prejudice, but blood is blood among the Arabs and Israelis. The West needs to get out of there as soon as possible.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Nov 7 2007 - 2:43pm

Web Letter

"(much as the 9/11 attacks paved the way for the passing of the Patriot Act and the weakening of Americans' civil rights)." So people in the US cannot protest the war on the Washington Mall or vote for the candidate they prefer, even buy ad space in the New York Times for an opposition ad calling General Patraeus General "Betray Us," or have an election without George Bush choosing who can run for office and who cannot. Any linking of Iranian freedoms to those enjoyed by the American people is to buy swamp land on the Shat El Arab from the supreme leader.

"...only Washington can offer Tehran what it really seeks: decontainment and reintegration in the Middle East." Why does the ever-demonstrative Amadinejad, speaking for the supreme leader of course, not come right out and say this? He had the perfect platform at Columbia University, non? Ms. Parsi's statement is contrived. Ahmadinejad is never shy to say exactly what is on his mind.

Here's a sober non-partisan view of what is very much in the realm of possibilities if Iran gains a nuclear device from Gannet's Nashville organ, The Tennessean.

A nuclear Iran is a danger we can't afford to ignore. I suggest the nature of the threat from Iran is many and manifold, and barely touched on by Trita Parsi.

David W. Moon

Chattanooga, TN

Nov 6 2007 - 11:30pm

Web Letter

What Trita Parsi has to say will find resonance throughout the Muslim world. Each new war against a Muslim country only succeeds in driving ever more people into the ranks of the fundamentalists.

When the US unleashed strikes against Afghanistan, the opinion in Pakistan was divided, as regards both the Taliban and the US. Though there was a considerable body of opinion that agreed with the Taliban position that the US should first provide evidence of Osama bin Laden's involvement in 911 and only then ask for his extradition, there were many who fully backed the US position. But since the invasion of Iraq it is difficult to find a Pakistani who does not consider the Iraq adventure as an attack on Islam, and very few can gather the courage to say anything supportive of the US in public.

In the sense that Iraq has destroyed the credibility of the US and only served to swell the ranks of the militants, it has been an unqualified disaster. But if the US now extends the war into Iran, even if it only be through air strikes, Iraq will come to be seen as a minor hiccup by comparison. Just consider the following:

a.The Shias of southern Iraq will rise up against the US. Among other things, they will attack the logistics supporting the troops; supplies have to go from Kuwait, through Shia Iraq, to reach the US troops in the North.

b. Instead of the small arms and roadside bombs with which the Iraqi insurgency is battling the US forces at present, you will see an influx of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.

c. Iran will try to block the straits of Hormuz by sinking one of its own ships there, if not a US vessel, and will target all oil producing facilities within missile range. If this does not increase the price of oil to bring about a world recession, it will be certainly be enough to tip over the economies of many of the fringe countries that are barely keeping their heads above the water. There is a good chance that among the Muslim countries in this catergory one will see violent attempts to overthrow pro-US regimes. Pakistan, which is central to the battle against Islamic militancy, would be most susceptible to the instability which would be unleashed as a result of a US strike against Iran. It must not be forgotten that already we are seeing increasing incidents of Pakistani troops surrendering to the Taliban without a fight. They do not want to fight their own people, in a war which they consider an unfair imposition upon them by the US. A good 20 percent of the Pakistan army is Shia. A US attack on Iran will not be very popular with any section of the Pakistani people or the army, but will impact most negatively on the Shias of Pakistan, and this will bring about an end to Pakistan's participation in operations against the Taliban.

d. Turkey, which is barely keeping its secular identity alive, will be pushed over the edge, into the arms of the Islamists.

e. Irrespective of what the governments of the Sunni Arab countries may think of Iran, the Arab street, whether Sunni or Shia, will inevitably see an attack against Iran as yet another US battle in its war against Islam.

The consequences of a US attack on Iran can therefore be only catastrophic, both for the US and for the rest of the world.

Saeed Malik

San Diego, CA

Nov 2 2007 - 8:31pm