Iran's nuclear ambitions


Madam, - I was not aware that, as Steven Corcoran claims (June 17th), I had sought "to portray Iran as an innocent player in the Middle East".

My concern is that the current demonisation of that country may incite a new war that will inevitably cause thousands of civilian deaths.

That said, Mr Corcoran's historical revisionism doesn't stand up to scrunity. "Shi'ite unrest. . .in various countries around the Middle East" did not need to be "fomented" by Khomeini: it was a growing and natural reaction to social and political marginalisation.

To maintain that "Iran provoked the Iraqi invasion" is like saying the victim provoked the rapist. The fact remains that the Iraqi dictator - for whom Mr Corcoran's sudden access of sympathy is remarkable - illegally invaded Iran with "Western" backing, and it was such backing (for both sides, to enhance profits) that protracted the futile war for eight bloody years.

Once attacked, it was hardly surprising that Khomeini would vow to achieve "the downfall of the regime governing Baghdad", if undoubtedly regrettable that he persisted vainly with this ambition when an earlier peace treaty was possible.

"Iranian commitment to Israel's destruction" is a figment of the neo-conservative imagination. President Ahmedinejad has repeatedly expressed hopes for an end to the Zionist regime, a hope shared worldwide - including within Israel - by people of more impeccable democratic credentials than the Iranian president. "The provision of training and logistical support to Hamas" - nominally the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people - is to be welcomed as a small counterbalance to US and EU support for the murderous Israeli regime.

Contrary to Mr Corcoran's claim, I did not "dismiss. . .Iranian nuclear ambitions". I would not be at all surprised were Iran to seek nuclear weapons in order to deter "the West" from its insatiable imperial lusts.

However, since even the International Atomic Energy Agency concedes this to be a distant prospect, I am more concerned with the nuclear weapons at present possessed by Israel, a rogue state functioning outside the norms of international law. - Yours, etc,

RAYMOND DEANE, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.