Friday, January 23, 2015

Iran, Argentina, and Rafsanjani

The Iran File
In the area of diplomacy and international negotiations, one of the chief questions asked about a nation, notably a powerful one intent on acquiring nuclear weapons, is whether it is a rational actor. That is, are the nation’s leaders acting in a rational, predictable way that serve some national interest? Such is the case with Iran, which, before the Islamic Revolution, was not an enemy of either Israel or the west. All this changed in 1979, and there are some in the American government who think the best policy is to talk to Iran, to find some common ground, perhaps to restore diplomatic relationships. This is both irrational and a mistake, says Prof. George Jochnowitz: “The United States should not assume that Iran is acting rationally. Iran was irrational when it continued its war against Iraq for eight years; it was irrational when it blew up the Jewish center in Argentina, and it is irrational today. The only reason that Iran is paying a very high price to build a nuclear facility is its desire to destroy Israel—a country with which it has no dispute whatsoever. Irrational hatreds are always the most dangerous.”
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 by George Jochnowitz
Negotiating with Iran makes no sense.

In 2001, Iran’s President Rafsanjani, who is generally described as a moderate, called the existence of Israel an ugly, colonialist phenomenon and said that nuclear war could destroy everything on the ground in Israel but would merely damage the world of Islam.

Rafsanjani’s statement seems to be part of a policy that is not merely anti-Israel but also anti-Semitic. In1994, a suicide bomber drove into the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people. Most of the victims were Jewish but not Israeli. Iran and its ally, Hezbollah, are believed to have organized the attack. In 2007, Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese over the bombing.

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who has accused President Cristina Fernandez of covering up Iran’s role in this terror attack, was found dead on January 18 under mysterious circumstances. Could Iran have played a role? As of the moment, we don’t know.

Rafsanjani’s statement was an indirect appeal to turn Iran into a suicide bomb against Israel. Ever since then, Iran has been devoting itself to building nuclear facilities, with the aid of North Korea, a country that actually sent its planes to fight against Israel in 1973.

Iran has never modified its absolutely pointless struggle against Israel. Iran is threatened by Sunni radicalism—the force that inspires Hamas. Iran fought an extremely bloody war against an Arab country, Iraq, for eight years.

It would make perfect sense for Iran to ally itself with Israel, which in fact was the case before Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in 1979. Nevertheless, Iran pursued its nuclear ambitions. Nothing can explain this except for Iran’s desire to destroy Israel, no matter what the cost, as Rafsanjani suggested. That is why Iran has tempted the world to impose sanctions against it.

The United States should not assume that Iran is acting rationally. Iran was irrational when it continued its war against Iraq for eight years; it was irrational when it blew up the Jewish center in Argentina, and it is irrational today. The only reason that Iran is paying a very high price to build a nuclear facility is its desire to destroy Israel—a country with which it has no dispute whatsoever. Irrational hatreds are always the most dangerous.

Negotiating with Iran makes no sense.

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George Jochnowitz was born in New York City, in 1937. He became aware of different regional pronunciations when he was six, and he could consciously switch accents as a child. He got his Ph.D. in linguistics from Columbia University and taught linguistics at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. His area of specialization was Jewish languages, in particular, Judeo-Italian dialects. As part of a faculty-exchange agreement with Hebei University in Baoding, China, he was in China during the Tiananmen Massacre. He can be reached at george@jochnowitz.net.

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Copyright ©2015. George Jochnowitz. All Rights Reserved.

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