April 21, 2006
Iran's 'Nuclear Nationalism'By Roya Johnson
A nation advancing in the fields of science and technology usually inspires pride among its citizens. Iranians are no exception. Throughout Iran's history, the traditional culture has been particularly focused on scientific and intellectual achievement, and these pursuits have been rewarded with extremely high social honor.
Unfortunately, the present regime in Iran is turning the honorable and dignified natural quest for technological achievement into propaganda about progress for peaceful power generation, in order to ineffectively camouflage its pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. They seek to delude Iranians into believing there is something positive in the billions of dollars lavished on a nuclear program while the economy and lives of ordinary Iranians languish. Technological advancement in Iran today serves to advance a war mongering, Armageddon threatening, fundamental Islamist Iranian government.
The Iranian mullahs' regime takes perverse pride in the early years of its revolution when it conducted a heinous and bloody 'cultural revolution.' Tens of thousands of progressive and anti—fundamentalist students and professors were purged and hundreds were killed and wounded by state—dispatched goons. The regime, which has executed thousands of student political activists and has crushed every student uprising, can hardly claim a genuine affinity for scientific and academic endeavors.
By consistently consolidating authority under thuggish elites, the clerical regime can serves itself. Like every other Iranian asset, technological achievement has been commandeered by the state and is being used to threaten and destabilize the region. Even if one were to take the Iranian government at its word, the timing of weapons testing, military exercises and belligerent rhetoric from the highest Iranian officials indicates that these technological advancements are nothing more than political instruments in a tool box that services a two—and—a—half—decade—long terror policy.
For all the deafening claims of Iran's thug—par—excellence president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the clerical regime's success in enriching uranium last week was primarily the result of nuclear science and technology imported from abroad, primarily from the infamous nuclear proliferator, A.Q. Khan of Pakistan.
Iran insists their nuclear program is for civilian purposes and claims it embodies the 'national aspiration' of Iranians. If that were the case and the program would ultimately benefit the Iranian people, then why would the Iranian regime find it necessary to hide its existence from its own people? A massive uranium enrichment project was clandestine until the exiled Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, exposed the existence of the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and the heavy water plant at Arak in August of 2002.
Recent revelations demonstrate Iranian scientists linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have made attempts to fashion highly enriched uranium (HEU) spheres into a nuclear warheads to put on top of advanced missile designs. While the HEU sphere schematics have their origins with Pakistan and A. Q. Khan, Iran's long range missiles technology appears to have its origins with North Korean missile designs.
The Americans as well as the Europeans now know beyond a reasonable doubt that the Iranian regime has been working in secret since the 1980's on their nuclear weapons program. In October of 1988, when former President Rafsanjani was addressing the IRGC he said
His deputy at the time of Rafsanjani presidency, Mohajerani, said
To remark about the consistency of bad government in Iran is not to suggest the regime has not evolved! The so called 'pragmatic' Rafsanjani and the so called 'reformer' Khatami have yielded to an even more virulent strain of Iranian official. Since the presidency of so called 'populist' Ahmadinejad, the Iranian regime has emphasized nationalism to rally support for the fascist government. According to Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
There is no question that Iranian people are proud of themselves and their national identity. The wild permutations of fascist government in Iran stand in contrast to its traditional proud national identity. Indeed, the Iranian regime, including Ahmadinejad, is a national embarrassment to many Iranian nationalists.
A secret official poll that was leaked revealed that last winter that about 69 percent of Iranians dismiss the nuclear program as a national project and 81 percent believe it was not worth taking Iran to the verge of war.* Iran's Ministry of Information has privately issued directives to state—controlled dailies not to report on negative aspects of the nuclear issue. A common joke these days in Tehran is: we do not have meat and potatoes, but 'nuclear energy is our certain right.'
The mullahs' nationalistic justification for the nuclear weapons rings hollow considering that their profoundly anti—Iranian rule has brought nothing but death and destruction for Iranians. They have plundered Iran's national wealth and resources to finance terror and a military machine. They have turned Iran's cultural, economic, and social fabric into a big mess. While Ahmadinejad was at his 'yellow cake celebration' last week, residents of quake—stricken cities of Bam, Doroud and Boroujerd were still crying out in their misery.
The dichotomy between national identity and the current Iranian leadership fuels general angst as well as a justified resistance against the totalitarian regime there. More than one hundred thousand Iranians have lost their lives in an attempt to correct what they saw as an ultimate political infraction. In their effort, they showed that this regime does not represent their values and culture.
Although seldom reported, true Iranian nationalism exists, and is geared to support a free Iran. These sentiments can be found in every demonstration organized in Iran by oridnary Iranians, including teachers, women, workers, students and minorities. In a fascist state like Iran, patriotic Iranians are not those who parrot the government, they are those who seek freedom and democracy, and continue to expose Tehran's anti—Iranian nuclear program at great cost to themselves and their families.
*The original report is in Farsi but has been translated into English by the US Alliance for Democratic Iran.
According to news form Tehran, an official polling center has sent a report to senior officials stating that 69% of Iranians do not view the nuclear case as a nationalist and only 11% said that they believed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could solve their daily problems.
Stamped as 'Classified', this report has been put together by the polling department of one of the official news agencies of the country based on the polling it did in the months January and February. The report also states that 86% of people have said the nuclear energy is not worth a war.
Moreover, according to the polling results, Iran's ethnic minorities do not consider the nuclear issue as their number one priority. 94% of Arabs of Khuzestan Province and 91% of Kurds have said the nuclear issue is not their main priority. 98% of Iranian people believe the nuclear case will eventually result in a military confrontation between Iran and the United States. About the same number of people responded positive when asked if Iran would have the same fate as Iraq if militarily attacked by the United States. The polling result also indicates that only 28% of Iranians are worried and fearful about an American attack...
Roya Johnson is vice president of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran