Iran’s new horizons
Sir, – Your Editorial (October 21st) on Iran’s new horizons trusts in the good faith of the new Iranian government regarding its nuclear programme and general relations with the West.
The Editorial refers to the “honesty” of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, says that he set a “positive agenda” at the recent Geneva talks, and claims there is “no proof that Iran has a military programme” regarding nuclear power.
While it is nice to be optimistic, one first and foremost needs to be realistic. Why does Iran need nuclear power when it is sitting on one of the largest oil fields in the world, with more than enough natural energy to power its economy and society for decades? Countries which have peaceful nuclear energy such as Canada or Japan do not have plutonium and centrifuges which are necessary components of nuclear weaponisation; Iran does. Nor are they trying to build intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) which are expressly designed to deliver nuclear warheads over thousands of miles; Iran is doing so.
Your Editorial does not mention that in the regime of the Islamic Republic, the presidency is merely a front; the real power lies with the clerical elite, and, despite President Rouhani’s charm offensive, which has beguiled many in the West, the regime has not really changed its spots.
Iran has not ceased its support for international terrorism, it has not cut its ties with Hizbullah in Lebanon, it still denies Israel’s right to exist and, as recently brought to the attention of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Oireachtas, it has not ceased its persecution of Bahais.
How can your Editorial believe so easily a country that has no respect for human rights? We all want to be optimistic about the Middle East, especially in the wake of the failure of the Arab Spring to create a brighter future for the region. However, this should not produce a mood of naivety where the West agrees to relax the sanctions on Iran in return for cosmetic gestures by the Iranians, when it is precisely the harsh sanctions that have brought the Iranians reluctantly to the negotiating table in the first place. – Yours, etc,
Ambassador of Israel,