Let Iran have its nuke

Is the heated “nuclear” rhetoric surrounding Iran justified?

Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries âĦ have yielded no results thus far. With the oil revenues, we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease and backwardness among our people.âÄù These are words spoken by secular Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh to the people of Iran in 1951, one and a half years before the U.S. government overthrew him to install a theocratic dictator friendly to Western oil interests. Too often, news reports about Iran omit this critical context, leaving the Americans to ponder naïvely, âÄúWhy do they hate us?âÄù The answer is clear: The West has shown that it will respect Iranian democracy as long as it remains subservient to global business interests. It is this arrogant, oppressive, state-sanctioned and para-militarized form of Western capitalism Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely referring to when he wages criticisms like âÄúthe Great Satan.âÄù In this sense, Ahmadinejad, the Taliban and Muslim fundamentalist governance in general represents a bold, cultural opposition to the West. And this is why our counter-insurgency doctrine in Afghanistan was designed to âÄúwin the hearts and minds of AfghanisâÄù who distrust everything about the West. Critics are surely right that Iran seeks nuclear armament, not power. But despite a Western coup to the contrary, Iran remains a sovereign nation, and its desire for nuclear defensive capacity is a fundamentally rational one. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that âÄúIran has left the international community little choice but to impose harsh penalties,âÄù penalties that will likely only hurt the Iranian people. But Pakistan has nukes. So does India. Perhaps it would be in AmericaâÄôs interests to do a little diplomacy and nation-building in Iran, the right way: Show Iranians that their sovereignty is still intact. Let them have their nuke.