Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fareed Zakaria on Iran: Islam Yes, Nukes No

A good, timely look at what's really going on over thataway, away from the FAUX News spin and beltway propaganda.

Everything you know about Iran is wrong, or at least more complicated than you think. Take the bomb. The regime wants to be a nuclear power but could well be happy with a peaceful civilian program (which could make the challenge it poses more complex). ... President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has quoted the regime's founding father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who asserted that such weapons were "un-Islamic." The country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa in 2004 describing the use of nuclear weapons as immoral. In a subsequent sermon, he declared that "developing, producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons is forbidden under Islam." ... Now, of course, they could all be lying. But it seems odd for a regime that derives its legitimacy from its fidelity to Islam to declare constantly that these weapons are un-Islamic if it intends to develop them. It would be far shrewder to stop reminding people of Khomeini's statements and stop issuing new fatwas against nukes.

When I lived in Dubai, many of my students were Iranian, and I got to see a side of the culture that most Americans simply do not. It is a shame that their current "leader" (himself largely a puppet for the real powers there) can't shut his damn mouth about Israel, and that their government doesn't want to stop handing cash and supplies to proxy warriors (read "terrorists") who continue to bedevil that nation.

If he did, and they would, we might actually get somewhere.


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