U.S. Must Back Down on Iranian Uranium Enrichment

There’s really only one solution. Only one way for Obama to get himself out of the box his predecessor Bush, Dick Cheney and the neocons have put him in. He has to affirm Iran’s inalienable right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium.

Somewhere along the road American public opinion, which history shows can be easily persuaded of things that just aren’t true, has bought several highly questionable propositions:

1. Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

2. Iran’s nuclear program can have only one purpose, the production of nuclear weapons.

3. The Iranian leadership wishes to, and has threatened to, wipe Israel off the face of the map.

4. Given all of the above, Iran’s progress towards nuclear enrichment must be stopped in order to prevent a second, “nuclear” Holocaust.

These propositions — Big Lies that that become better established with each retelling — are in fact easily refutable.

1. The U.S. intelligence community itself doesn’t believe that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. In November 2007 all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that declared “with high confidence” that Iran had suspended any such program as of 2003. Dick Cheney’s office tried to suppress that report and with George Bush told the chagrined Israeli government he would ignore it. (Recall that Cheney and the neocons surrounding him insisted with equal vigor in opposition to IAEA evidence to the contrary that Iraq had an active nuclear program in 2001 that could produce a “mushroom cloud over New York City”?)

We’re not talking about some liberal blogs challenging the Bush-Cheney claims here. We’re talking about the Central Intelligence Agency, Army Military Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, etc. Highly trained, professional, critically-thinking researchers whose best judgment is: Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program.

Repeat (because this is so important): U.S. intelligence doesn’t believe Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

2. Cheney on many occasions insisted that Iran, with its vast petroleum wealth, could only have one reason to seek nuclear power. But successive U.S. administrations from the 1960s urged Iran, when it was ruled by the Shah (whom the CIA had placed in power), to develop a nuclear energy program. U.S. corporations such as General Electric were deeply invested in that program.

3. Iran has rarely attacked another country in the last thousand years, and never in modern times. On the contrary it has been the victim of aggression, most notably in the Iran-Iraq War, when Saddam Hussein, attacked in 1980. The U.S. supported Iraq; Donald Rumsfeld visited Saddam twice, offered aid including satellite intelligence crucial to the Iraqi war effort. The idea that Iran aspires to initiate war with a country a thousand miles away because of ingrained anti-Semitism among the leadership is very questionable. Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel, with representation in the Parliament (Majlis). Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not called for Israel to be “wiped of the map” but once quoted Ayatollah Khomeini (who died in 1989) as stating that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must [vanish from] from the page of time.” As Professor Juan Cole explains, “Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope — that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah’s government.” The claim that Iran has “repeatedly stated its intention to destroy the state of Israel” is pure alarmist propaganda peddled by those calling openly for the bombing of Iran!

4. Iran’s advancement towards nuclear enrichment is a progress towards something realized not only by countries with nuclear weapons (including, one must emphasize, Israel, which unlike Iran never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty) but by Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Germany, and the Netherlands. Again: nuclear enrichment is not a crime but an inalienable right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty whereby nations agree not to produce nuclear weapons in exchange for assistance in developing peaceful nuclear programs under carefully monitored conditions. The rules allow them control over the entire “nuclear fuel cycle” under IAEA inspections.

The idea that Iran is a special exception to the rules is an obvious conceit of the Bush-Cheney era propaganda. The idea that if normal rules apply, and Iran proceeds as usual and gets its nuclear reactors online, nukes will forthwith rain down on Israel (with its 200 warheads) and produce a second Holocaust (frying Israeli Jews and Palestinian alike) is wild, paranoid fantasy.

So let Obama say, unequivocally: We recognize and respect Iran’s right to have a peaceful nuclear program monitored by the IAEA, to enrich uranium, to master the nuclear cycle—just like any other normal nation.

Should he not do so, the burden is on him to explain why, as the candidate of “change” and “hope,” who on Inauguration Day told the Muslim world he would seek “a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect” he continues the Bush-Cheney policy of vilification, insinuation, and Zionist pandering in connection with this issue.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu. Read other articles by Gary.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on January 22nd, 2009 at 12:44pm #

    if US (probably 98% of its pop) starts to tell the truth, its and israel’s expansion wld surely stop.
    and when uncle has 98% support for the ‘defense’ of ‘american greatness’, (read great power and greed) why start telling the truth and settle for 20% of the world that wld surely end the ‘greatness of america’?

    without expansion (much, much more of it) israel wld be forever- or until its possible destruction- a dependency and not be as every other land an interdependency.
    greatest joy and liberty/prosperity for all of us and not just countries
    is being interdependent.

    independence and dependence are fictions; mostly propagated by rulling classes just about everywhere.
    folks, i am afraid to type with more than one finger but still make some typos. so, beg indulgence. thnx

  2. RH2 said on January 22nd, 2009 at 2:52pm #

    Professor Leupp,

    The idea that Iran would produce a second Holocaust is wild indeed, but not paranoid. Paranoia is a mental disease which is not changable through discussion or evidence. A paranoid person is convinced of harm committed against him by others, from outside and deeply suffers of that. Israel is not suffering, but enjoying. The zoinist fear of a nuclear Holocaust is a deliberate misleading as an instrument to prevent the coming into being of a seroius opponent in the Middle East.

    Thank you

  3. RH2 said on January 22nd, 2009 at 3:15pm #

    Professor Leupp,

    Certainly you know about the zionist misleading propaganda. But I only wanted to indicate that we should not give the zionists any kind of psychosis which could excuse them from their evil.

    Thank you

  4. DavidG. said on January 22nd, 2009 at 4:37pm #

    The nation which will most likely precipitate and carry out a nuclear holocaust is Israel.

  5. Craig D. USN ret. said on January 22nd, 2009 at 11:05pm #

    Professor Leupp,

    I understand what you are saying and it is openly obvious as to your mindset. So, seeing this for what you depict it to be I personally feel that it would be best to merely sit on the sidelines and watch the game and rhetoric as it continues to unfold.

    With that I have but one question for you – if by some remote chance Israel is attacked with a nuclear weapon and that weapon has been delivered via an Iranian missile (parts supplied by Russia & China) would your overall sentiment concerning this possibly stand a chance to change?

    Ya know it’s kinda funny that I always taught my son a little trick that truly helped him in deciding what would be best to do or commit himself to. It’s very simple actually and it goes like this. Whatever it may be look upon it as if you’re in a big box. A box has four sides, top and bottom. And each side of the box both holds and will show you a portion of the whole that you must decide on. All you have to do is step outside of the box and calmly look at all sides of the box before making a committed decision. Look closely at all perspectives so you’ll have a much clearer understanding as to what the box is on whole. Not merely one side, one top or one bottom. From viewing things in this manner you would truly be surprised how much clearer of an understanding you can come to. Try it, I think you’ll find it rather interesting as to how you will view things.

    Craig D. USN ret.

  6. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 8:28am #


    Your mindset is suspicious and the wholeness of your box is a hollow rubbish. Why dont ‘t you accept the historical fact that Iran has not seriously attacked another country in the last thousand years?

  7. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 9:21am #

    generally speaking, people approve of having wmd as it makes them feel safer or that having them, wars wld be prevented. but people who say this are people who either possess wmd or are protected by an umbrella of wmd.

    but this attitude denies people the universl right to bear arms. and an unarmed nation is under constant threat of an attack from stronger adversaries.

    if iraq and afgh’n had wmd, US wld have never, i deduce, invaded these countries.
    israel with wmd and armed with US weaponry cld bomb osirak reactor and a syrian site with impunity.

    what if US had not nuked hiroshima and nagasaki? japan wld be free and probably armed with wmd; it wldn’t be occupied, either.

    what if iran attacked israel with a Nbomb? but when? if in two or ten or twenty years it wld be a desert land.

    what wld happen if US/Israel obeyed 242 UN resolution? what wld happen then? what if US stopped commiting crimes against humanities?
    what do you think wld happen then? more peaceful world, right?
    but with more or much more peaceful world US/ Israel cannot expand; i.e., steal more land.
    you obviously thought by asking only one ‘queston’, that that exhaust further inquiry.
    such a ruse deosn’t work well among us on DV. thnx

  8. Suthiano said on January 23rd, 2009 at 9:38am #

    Craig, the world is not a box to be observed “objectively” from different “angles”, precisely because you don’t have an objective view of the world.

    “If…then…would you?”

    If Obama was a lizard man, then wouldn’t it make sense for him to advance the rapidity of global warming, because he’s cold blooded and he needs more sun? Would you tell this man he does not know what’s best?

    Israeli actions regarding nuclear weapons have always been contrary to international law. Their use of Depleted Uranium muniitions has stay behind effects that are very real. Regardless of what Iran may or may not be doing, we would largely take away their need to “act” or to “acquire weapons”, if we with the real power would begin to abide by laws and treaties.

    The only box you have is the one you’ve created via the “info” you’ve collected. You cannot access the truth of which you are not aware. The info is obviously sill minimal for you to end up with such a perspective… but I suppose one must begin learning somewhere.

  9. Phil said on January 23rd, 2009 at 12:31pm #

    generally speaking, people approve of having wmd as it makes them feel safer or that having them, wars wld be prevented. but people who say this are people who either possess wmd or are protected by an umbrella of wmd.

    However, the deterrent of mutually assured destruction (remember that quaint little phrase?) only works when the leadership on both sides is… what’s the word?…. sane. In the situation of Iran v. Israel, the vastly more powerful side has shown that it’s more than willing to commit genocide, and likely would start another full-fledged holocaust, rather than even consider coexisting on fair or equal terms with anyone else. What’s a poor ayatollah to do?

  10. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 1:26pm #

    i am not sure that i understood your post. i have said that the right to bear weapons is a universal right; i.e., it is not just an israeli right.

    about israel,
    even with all israel has now it is too tiny, too impoverished; thus, it may not be satisfied with just that; which means more genocide by US/israel.

  11. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 2:31pm #


    Israel is too tiny, too impoverished, but the US administration, especially G. W. Bush has always looked it in the eyes and enriched it with the most destructive weapons available. What does that mean for justice seeking people? I am afraid, the world will look Obama in the ass and see a black hole of hopelessness.

    Thank you

  12. rosemarie jackowski said on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:16pm #

    It seems to me that whenever this topic comes up, the real point is missing. That is: Why should the only nation that has ever used nuclear bombs to kill innocent civilians have ANY right to say who should or should not have nuclear weapons. If the USA want to pass judgement on this issue, it should first dispose of all of its nuclear weapons.
    In addition, the USA owes reparations to Iran for past transgressions.

  13. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:48pm #


    If the USA initiates reparations to Iran for past transgressions, this would be to declare the end of imperialism that the forge of evil, the White House, can ‘t afford doing.

    Thank you

  14. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 3:58pm #

    yes, that’s why i often say that israel’s a dependency; it’s not interdependent to any perceptible degree.
    world is in great jeopardy and not only beacause US/Israel is extremely evil but because of canadian, german, UK, et all govt’s strong support for that evil.

    it is bad enough having just the two sisters axis of evil, but nearly all christians are evil as well.
    it is the religion or, rather, cultish behavior at its worst to date that probably will even worsen.
    a cult, such as christianity ( among others) with mass of delusional/maniacal teaching/behavior, will never accept other cults, such as judaism and islam.

    socalled zionists (euros, really) can espy this; they know they’ll be egged on to ever greater paroxism because of intolerance of a cult for another cult.
    perhaps, islam may be less cultish than judaism and christianity but it might not make difference.

    israel, i propose, is being used by christians in the main to make sure that no arab (at least) land obtains wmd.
    the payback for the israeli dirty work wld be to reward the criminal state with at least all of palestine (schemitischen frei), parts of jordan, syria, and lebanon and to boot, install puppet govt’s in all arab lands.

    will the plan (inferred) work? we don’t know!

  15. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 4:04pm #

    yes, right to bear arms is an universal right; thus every country has the right to acquire wmd.

  16. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 4:39pm #


    The american-european plan of making a ‘schemitisch freies’ Palestine and installing puppets in arab lands is successfully going on. As to religion, I am not sure, whether Islam is less cultish than judaism and christianity. Let us stress the following: Regardless of religion theres is no legitimation to rob human beings of their habitat and their dignity. A religion would tolerate another religion, only if the tolerating side is stronger than the weaker tolerated. If you feel weak and disadvantaged, thers is no place for toleration. It is always the policy of the “stonger”. I think starting from religion would lead us nowhere.

  17. bozh said on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:35pm #

    the word “religion” is, to me, much too much euphemistic label for many, what i call, cults.
    please note that i do not propose people not believe in a god. bu once any human being begins to tell me what god said/did/wants you to do, that’s where a cult begins.
    there is no way in hell a god wld speak to some people and not some others. or that god will you keep well but only via a (mad) priest. such priests are cultists.

    you may be right about islam not being much better, if at all. i read some of it. it was one of dullests books i have ever read. it like the bible, torah, is full of promises.
    and i evaluate all promises as lies; unless an actual god spoke to me and promised me this and that, i wld believe him/her or it.
    but then i wld think, why me only, god? that wld lead me to the conclusion that i am delusional. thnx

  18. giorgio said on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:44pm #

    The way I see it, in my humble opinion, is that the talk of Iran becoming a major threat if it gets nuclear weapons is plain sabre rattling by the Israel and USA.
    What is happening here is analogous to what happened to the Soviets when they got a nuclear capability and as a result of that could look the USA in the eye and say: Hey, mate, you try to nuke us and we won’t hesitate to nuke you back, capito? So the ‘cold war’ was born and these two just irritated each other in relatively minor skirmishes around the world right up to the collapse of the Soviet Union….

    And this is precisely the situation Israel does not want to find itself in. Today Israel is the unchallenged top dog of the Middle East and would hate to find itself in a position of having to restrain itself in its present compulsive brutality because there is now a nation, Iran, which could turn to it and say: Hey, mate, you better watch your step, because we can just as easily teach you a lesson or two…

    Like in a school playground, the reigning bully finds himself in the unconfortable situation that there is now a newcomer around as big and strong as he to whom the erstwhile unprotected little guys can ran to…such severe deflation of the bully’s ego would be too painful to bear and must be avoided at all costs or at least delayed for as long as possible…

  19. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:49pm #


    ok, I understand. Let us struggle for gustice without “divine” inspirations.

    Thank you and take care of yourself

  20. Suthiano said on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:56pm #


    the cultists are similar to the others who have lorded over people, in that their power derives from “credibility”. We owe “spiritual” debt to the “credible” priests/rabbis/imams. We owe monetary debt to the financial creditors. Credibility/credit, from latin credere, credo (to believe, I believe).

    To stop problems, first step is to stop believing. Realize that our “debt” to “God” is really our obligation to one another and this planet, not to individuals who proclaim such and such policies/doctrines. God is creation. Through “God”, we have language and community, and the possibility of recognizing our interconnectedness. What religion or cult is spreading this true belief in creation? What cultists have not profited from destruction and division?

    God cannot be institutionalized/organized.

  21. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 6:08pm #


    Yes, you have hit the nail on the head.

    Thank you

  22. RH2 said on January 23rd, 2009 at 6:17pm #


    You have also hit the nail on the head. God cannot be institutionalized. In an institution of “God” I would lose my sense of justice and dignity.

    Thank you