Council for the National Interest

5 Surprising Ways Iran is better than Israel – Juan Cole

Feb 28 2015 / 4:00 pm

1. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb and is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

2. Iran has not launched an aggressive war since 1775

3. Modern Iran has not occupied the territory of its neighbors.

4. All the people ruled over by Iran can vote in national elections and even Iranian Jews have a representative in parliament. In contrast, of the 12 million people ruled by Israel, 4 million of them have no vote in Israeli politics, which is the politics that actually rules them.

5. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not trying to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with his country…

Excerpted from “Informed Comment,” Juan Cole: “…Ultimately Iranians, outraged at constant interference in their domestic affairs, overthrew the shah and instituted a revolutionary regime based on indigenous Iranian culture, especially religious culture. …

“… here are some differences between the two that are in Iran’s favor, which I point out just to balance out the unfair way the two are covered.

1. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb and is signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Despite what is constantly alleged in the Western press and by Western politicians, there is no evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program; and, the theocratic Supreme Leader has forbidden making, stockpiling and using nuclear weapons. In contrast, Israel refused to sign the NPT and has several hundred nuclear warheads, which it constructed stealthily, including through acts of espionage and smuggling in the United States, and against the wishes of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. And, its leaders have more than once implied they are ready to use it; then prime minister Ariel Sharon alarmed George W. Bush when he intimated that he’d nuke Baghdad if Saddam tried to send SCUDs tipped with gas on Israel.

2. Iran has not launched an aggressive war since 1775, when Karim Khan Zand sent an army against Omar Pasha in Basra in neighboring Iraq. Though, whether that was a response to Ottoman provocations or actually an aggressive act could be argued. Who started a war is always a matter of interpretation to some extent, but if we define it as firing the first shot, then Israel started wars in 1956, 1967 and 1982. If the principle of proportionality of response is entered into the equation, then you’d have to say 2006, 2009, and 2014 were also predominantly an Israeli decision.

3. Modern Iran has not occupied the territory of its neighbors. Iraq attacked Iran in 1980 in a bloodthirsty act of aggression. Iran fought off Iraq 1980-1988. But after the hostilities ended, Tehran did not try to take and hold Iraqi territory in revenge. The UN Charter of 1945 forbids countries to annex the land of their neighbors through warfare. In contrast, Israel occupies 4 million stateless Palestinians, who are treated as any subjected, colonized population would be. Nor is there any prospect in my lifetime of those Palestinians gaining citizenship in their own state; they are going to live and die humiliated and colonized and often expropriated.

4. All the people ruled over by Iran can vote in national elections and even Iranian Jews have a representative in parliament. In contrast, of the 12 million people ruled by Israel, 4 million of them have no vote in Israeli politics, which is the politics that actually rules them.

5. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is not trying to undermine the Obama administration’s negotiations with his country, aimed at making sure Iran can have nuclear electricity plants but that it cannot develop a weapon.


Juan Ricardo Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Full bio.

 

Posted by on Feb 28 2015 . Filed under Commentary & Analysis, Featured articles, Iran, Media distortion . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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