Talking points on
How dangerous is
The mullahs are dedicated to power and wealth, just like
rulers everywhere. They sound crazy, but
they are not. They know that if they
used a nuclear weapon against
Published evidence of a nuclear weapons program has turned
out to be bogus. We know that
Possession of nuclear weapons does not automatically mean use of nuclear weapons. Nine nations have nuclear weapons, but only one has ever used them, and that was in a situation where there was no danger of retaliation. Possession of nuclear weapons by many nations means use of them by somebody some day is inevitable. Rather than trust some with them and not trust others, we should be working hard for global nuclear disarmament.
The value of nuclear weapons is political, not military. To use them would be suicidal, but to possess them conveys power and prestige in international relations. Sending mixed signals about weapons programs enables a government to acquire some of that power and prestige without the expense of the actual development.
Are sanctions a good idea?
Fifty years of sanctions have only strengthened the Castro
Sanctions are only effective if there is cooperation by
all major trading partners, and
The Iranian government has been wanting to raise petroleum
prices, but has been afraid of popular reaction if they did. Sanctions would give them the opportunity to
do it and blame it on
Any kind of aggression, including sanctions, would strengthen the position of the incumbent government and give them a pretext to crack down on dissidents.
Sanctions bills currently in Congress cannot succeed, because they demand conditions with which no Iranian government could comply. They can only lead to hightened tensions and entrenchment of the current Iranian government.
Who can we believe?
Not the media.
"Everybody knew" that
Not the Iranian government. You don't believe them when they deny having a weapons program, so why should you believe them when they state or hint that they do have one? Mixed signals are in their interest, because they gain some of the power and prestige of having nuclear weapons, whether they actually have them or not.
The IAEA monitored and inspected
See Rick's film of his visit to
What should we do?
Lower tensions. Lower the rhetoric. Encourage travel, exchange, trade, and contact.
Push for achievable goals - compliance with the IAEA and end to support of terrorist groups.
Push for balanced goals.
Improve our own credibility by a more balanced approach to
Negotiate with emphasis on common interests, such as
Let NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch apply pressure regarding human rights abuses. A more democratic government would not agree with us on everything, but would be more interested in negotiation. Explicit pressure from the American government on human rights is counterproductive.
Ratify the Nuclear Test Ban treaty.