The new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the UN General Assembly last week.
BBC reported: He called for stricter controls on nuclear weapons as part of a global effort to eventually rid the world of them.”No nation should possess nuclear weapons, since there are no right hands for these wrong weapons,” he said, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement at the General Assembly.
President Rouhani is suggesting that if Iran can’t have nuclear weapons, than nobody can have them. A simple argument. And yet his request is dismissed out of hand by most Americans.
But imagine our roles were reversed.
Just pretend for a moment that Iran was the nuclear superpower and America was an emerging economy struggling under a decade of international sanctions. Americans were unable to purchase international products, and US companies were barred from doing business with the outside world. And these sanctions were enforced by an Iranian military as large as the next 10 countries combined.
Iranian Aircraft carriers drifted along US coasts, jets resting on their hulls with enough missiles to level New York, and rumor had it that one of them was carrying a nuclear bomb. Looking out at these floating metal giants you remembered what happened the last time you crossed the Iranians. Your grandparents told you the story of how Iranian covert ops snuck into Washington DC in the 1950’s. Iranian soldiers assassinated the democratically elected President of the United States replacing him with a religious fanatic.
And it wasn’t just the ocean that was occupied. Iran had already deposed the President of Mexico leveling Mexico City in the process. Spending billions of dollars to build military bases, and was currently working hand in hand with the new Mexican government to rebuild the destroyed schools, roads, and hospitals.And Iran occupied our northern border as well, having taken over Canada and instituted a new Prime Minister.
What if Iran was engaged in two wars along our borders, and surrounded our oceans, labeling America the Axis of Evil?
It feels pretty desperate doesn’t it?
Wouldn’t America be working around the clock to get a nuclear weapon? Hoping that the threat of nuclear violence would be enough to keep Iran from once again toppling our government.
And if we did decide to postpone our nuclear weapons program, it seems only logical that the US would ask that Iran dismantle their own nuclear weapons.
It’s a depressing situation to start a round of peace talks. Like asking a burglar to put down the gun because the house is surrounded.
But this is the situation Iran finds itself in entering the latest round of peace talks. Iraq and Afghanistan make up the lion’s share of Iranian borders, two countries that have been occupied by American soldiers for the last decade. We armed Saddam Hussein in the 80’s as he slaughtered thousands of Iranians. And if we go back to 1953, the CIA murdered the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh after he promised to share Iran’s oil profits with the people, similar to the way Alaska does.
And after all this bloodshed it can’t be easy to talk peace with America. Frankly the US hasn’t exactly earned their trust.
So maybe this time America could do something different.
Asking Iran to stop its nuclear program after 50 years of bloodshed feels a lot like a bully at the end of the block pointing a semi-automatic at smaller kid who, word on the street has it, has been saving his money to buy a hand gun. The bully pointing the rifle saying “Don’t even think of buying a gun or I’ll blow your brains out.”
Maybe we could take President Rouhani’s call for worldwide nuclear disarmament seriously. Is it reasonable to expect Iran to stop their nuclear weapons program if America has no intention of stopping it’s own nuclear program? Over 50 years of Iranian bloodshed and two failed wars in the past decade the US has not exactly proven itself to be the “right-hands” for nuclear weapons.
But if we are not going to dismantle our weapons, maybe America could at least start this round of peace talks by imagining what the US would do if the roles were reversed?