Saturday, December 21, 2013

If Israel wants security, it must give up the bomb

I'm not naive. Iran at least wants to retain the option to produce a nuclear weapon, even if they agree to put their nuclear program on hold. And why wouldn't they? Pakistan and North Korea get special treatment thanks to their nuclear weapons. Economically poor Russia got to join the G-8 (before known as the G-7) because of its nukes. And let's not forget that Iran's biggest rival Israel maintains the only nuke arsenal in the Mideast. Strangely, Israel's nuclear capability is an official "open secret" not only in Israel but in the EU and U.S.

Author of Israel's Occupation Neve Gordon points out that way back in 1974, Iran proposed making the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. But that didn't suit Israel or the U.S., so the idea went nowhere. 

Fast forward 40 years and it would seem stupid of Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons, not only to maintain some military parity with rival Israel, but to forestall any U.S.-backed invasion, a la Iraq.  

Neve argues it's not too late to ask Israel to disarm if Iran will do the same. Surely this would elicit catcalls from conservatives and AIPAC types, but think about it: what's so crazy about the idea of mutual disarmament?    

And there are precedents: South Africa gave up its nuclear weapons in the early 1990s post-apartheid; and newly independent Ukraine gave up its massive Soviet nuclear stockpile in 1991.

By Neve Gordon
December 13, 2013 | Al Jazeera

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