UFPJ Talking Points:
New War Dangers: Iran, the U.S. and Nukes in the Middle East

by Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies

These are summary points from United for Peace and Justice's Talking Points on Iran. See the full version at: www.ips-dc.org

** Escalating rhetoric, continued losses in Iraq, Bush's political problems, and an ideologically-driven pursuit of power make the possibility of a US military attack on Iran - however reckless and however dangerous its consequences - a frighteningly real possibility.

** Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has not violated the Treaty. While there appear to be unresolved issues regarding full transparency, its nuclear program, including enriching uranium, is perfectly legal under NPT requirements for non-nuclear weapons states.

** Iran does not have nuclear weapons; even if it is trying to build a nuclear weapons program, it could not produce weapons for five to ten years or more.

**There is a dangerous, unmonitored and provocative nuclear arsenal in the Middle East; it belongs to Israel, not Iran. US hypocrisy and double standards in nuclear policy, accepting Israel's unacknowledged nuclear arsenal and rewarding India's nuclear weapons status while threatening war against Iran and denying its own obligations under the NPT, has undermined Washington's claimed commitment to non-proliferation.

** US officials claim they are not considering an invasion of Iran but "only" surgical air strikes against known nuclear facilities; they have not explained what their military response will be when Iran retaliates, whether against US troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region, against US oil tankers in near-by shipping lanes, or against Israel.

**Global suspicions remain regarding US claims because of Washington's lies leading to the invasion of Iraq, but international conditions regarding Iran are significantly different; many governments appear more willing to consider Iran a "threat."

** The only solution to the crisis is to move towards a nuclear weapons-free, or even weapons of mass destruction-free zone across the entire Middle East.

Phyllis Bennis' new book is Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power, just published by Interlink. It is available from IPS or from www.interlinkbooks.com.