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Submitted by martin on Wed, 24/09/2008 - 09:56

Workers' Power, 16 May 2008: "Permanent Revolution intervened into the founding conference [of Hopi]... moved the deletion of the formulation in the founding statement that called for a 'nuclear free Middle East', arguing, quite correctly, that semi-colonial states have a right to nuclear weapons, if they so wish, in order to defend themselves against imperialism (but lost the vote). Members of Permanent Revolution have argued that Hopi is not third campist..." [i.e. would be pro-Iran in a US-Iran war, rather than upholding a working-class "third camp" against both sides].

I suppose WP may be misreporting PR, but I'd guess not, since here WP is praising PR (the "but" bits follow later). And the alleged "semi-colonial state" in question is Iran, isn't it?

Of course we are against Israel having nuclear weapons - have been since the news of Israel having nuclear weapons first came out, in 1986 (some people think Israel had then already had nuclear weapons for some time). But I see no evidence that Israel is likely to nuke Iran - no strategic reason for Israel to do it - any more than Britain is likely to, short of Israel feeling at risk of being militarily overwhelmed (not likely soon).

Iran would have no "ordinary" geopolitical-strategic reason for nuking Israel, either. It's possible, of course, that Iranian development of nuclear weapons would lead only to a "balance of terror" in the region. Even that is not desirable.

But the Iranian regime is special. It is a regime in which a political monopoly is held by more or less ardent political Islamists, people whose world-view includes a strong cult of martyrdom and identifies "Zionism" as the world's greatest evil. Thus the standard chant "Death to Israel". It is condescending and naive to suppose that the Iranian leaders are cynics who say these things for effect but are de facto atheists and rationalists. All of them "mean" their Islamist slogans to some extent: some of them may well "mean" them to the point of doing things which are irrational in ordinary geopolitical-strategic terms.

US reports say that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons programme for now. That is not the same as there being no question at all of Iran having nuclear-weapon ambitions. As in a previous comment, I could refer you to Yassmine Mather of Hopi, who unfortunately has now got caught up in the concocted outcry against the AWL, but knows something about Iran. Only a couple of years ago she wrote candidly: "It is quite clear that Iran’s nuclear programme has only one aim: the development of nuclear weapons" (WW 611 Thursday February 9 2006); Iran is "committed to nuclear weapons" (WW 660 Thursday February 15 2007). Was she then an "imperialist liar"?

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