Carter on Iran - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Carter on Iran

Jimmy Carter says Iran is not a threat to Israel. Whew! What a relief!

In all seriousness, there is a growing argument that Iran would not use nuclear weapons on Israel if it obtained them, because it would not want to commit national suicide. The problem is that a lot of prominent Iranian leaders have publicly embraced the idea of martyrdom, and when you’re dealing with people that glorify the concept of death as long as they’re killing infidels, you cannot assume you’re dealing with rational actors who would be interested in self- preservation.

For instance:

“If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world”, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told the crowd at the traditional Friday prayers in Tehran.


A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. “I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another’s hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours.”

This doesn’t even take into account Ahmadinejad’s threats to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Is all of this just bluster? Maybe. But if you’re Israel, I think it would be dangerous to think like Carter and err on the side of assuming that Iranians will behave rationally. One nuclear attack could effectively destroy Israel, so the risk of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons should be viewed as unacceptable. This does not even take into account the possibility that Iran, consistently the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, would pass nuclear material to a terrorist group such as Israel’s direct enemies Hamas and Hezbollah, which are provided weapons and financing from Iran. Even if Iranians do neither of those things, the strategic leverage they would gain from having nuclear weapons by itself is enough reason for Israel to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, assuming diplomacy fails and the U.S. does not act first.

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