The drumbeats for war against Iran is a crime against world peace
Posted on March 11th, 2012

Ajit Randeniya

A columnist for the progressive Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel Harel recently made the point that the instinctive and uncontrolled ‘hatred’ of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amongst Israelis prevents a rational discussion of a possible military attack on Iran. The primary observation that Netanyahu is a ‘hated’ figure in Israel, made albeit in the context of Harel’s support for Netanyahu’s conduct during the recent US visit, is a valid one: people dislike him intensely due to his arrogant warmongering and his blatant disregard for human life; his belligerent ‘war talk’ during the US visit last week further contributed to such public opinion.

Netanyahu took his combative views on Iran to a White House meeting with Barack Obama and later delivered, in a speech crafted to induce fear, to the already converted audience at the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention; he invoked the Holocaust, asserted that sanctions against Iran have not worked, and declared: ‘As prime minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.’ He asked the US for ‘bunker-buster’ bombs and refuelling planes that could improve his ability to attack Iran’s underground nuclear sites.

On the matter of invoking the memories of the Holocaust, Netanyahu carefully hid the obvious difference between the modern day Israel, a nation with its own army, and the defenceless European Jewry during time of the World War II: he is obviously milking the ancient Jewish feeling that ‘of the [other] people there was none with me’; ‘therefore my own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me’, to justify an attack on Iran.

The other Israeli saber-rattler, defence minister, Ehud Barak is telling the world that Iran is nearing what he calls a ‘zone of immunity’, a vaguely defined point beyond which Iran could potentially produce weapon fuel without fear of an air attack that could wipe out its facilities.

In consistence with the total subservience of the US political machine to Israeli demands, Obama and his surrogates have offered unprecedented military assistance and cooperation to Netanyahu, with the mild plea that Israel not attack Iran this (election) year. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and US military commanders have claimed that they have drawn up contingency plans for a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus has gone as far as undertaking an analysis of ‘how Iran might respond to an attack’!

It appears that the idea of an attack on Iran that once seemed far-off or dangerous has started to gather a sense of inevitability just as in the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libyan invasions: the difference in opinion between the US and Israel appears to be merely a question of timing, with Washington advocating bit more patience.

Opposition to an attack on Iran amongst the more sensible sections of the US and Israeli bureaucracies and wider civic society is being ignored, just as in the case of Iraq and other past illegal invasions.

As an example, Intelligence analysts of America’s 16 intelligence agencies have affirmed the 2007 intelligence finding, and the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and there is no hard evidence that Iranian enrichment work includes a weapons program.

The CIA deserves credit here because it is clear that it has learnt from the faulty assessments in 2002 about Iraq’s purported weapons programs: new analytical procedures designed to avoid a repeat includes analysts having access to raw information about the credibility of ‘sources’, and the requirements that the ‘chain of logic’ as well as contrary conclusions are featured prominently in classified reports.

Obama’s most senior national security officials including chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General Martin Dempsey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Admiral William Fallon, former commander of US Central Command, and General James Cartwright immediate past vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff also have made it clear that they remain opposed to an attack on Iran by Israel.

Amongst leading Israelis who have expressed opposition to a war with Iran is the former Mossad chief Meir Dagan who retired in January 2011: he believes the Iranian regime including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a ‘very rational one,’ and therefore regime change or getting the US to attack is a preferable option!

The leading Israeli novelist David Grossman, author of the war epic To the End of the Land, whose son was killed in the 2006 Lebanon War opposes an attack on Iran by Israel or the US, due to the likely consequences of such an attack would be more daunting even than that of Iran building nuclear weapons.

It is crucially important that the world at large reinforce such sensible opposition against this madness, due simply to the damage it can incur on global peace and stability, in addition to the massive economic sabotage of poor countries it will cause through inflated oil prices. Also, the war talk is illegal.

It is rarely mentioned in the corporate media that the ‘talk’ of an impending military attack on a sovereign country by a prime minister of another country, Benyamin Netanyahu in this case, is illegal as an ‘act of aggression’ under the international law as stipulated in the Un Charter, General Assembly Resolutions and other key instruments.

The Purposes of the UN as stipulated in Article 1 of the UN Charter are:

1.      To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;

2.      To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;

Article 2, paragraph 4 prescribes that ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’ Netanyahu is clearly threatening Iran!

Netanyahu’s talk is also a Crime against Peace defined in Principle VI(a) under the Nuremberg Tribunal, as:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

Obama in particular may do well to remember the words of the chief American prosecutor Robert H. Jackson who stated during the Nuremberg trial, that: ‘to initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’.

In 1951, after long delays caused by the former colonisers, the International Law Commission provided a tentative definition of aggression as ‘ the use of force by a State or Government against another State or Government, in any manner, whatever the weapons used and whether openly or otherwise, for any reason or for any purpose other than individual or collective self-defence or in pursuance of a decision or recommendation by a competent organ of the United Nations’: in effect, use of force is limited to self-defence and UN sanctioned operations. In 1974, the UN General Assembly, by Resolution 3314, declared that ‘war of aggression’ constitutes a crime against peace and States would be held responsible for acts of aggression.

Needless to say, the 2001 criminal invasion of Afghanistan was dishonestly framed around the concept of self-defence, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq and 2011 Libyan invasions around the concept of deceptively obtained UN Security Council ‘approvals’ in order to qualify under the only exceptions provided under international law.

In further proof of the total disregard by top UN executives (US ‘lapdogs’) of the founding principles of the UN and the international law, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) appears to keep on providing ammunition to Netanyahu and the hawkish sections of the US system: recently he ‘refused to rule out’ that Iran may be trying to remove evidence of suspected research relevant to atomic bombs from a military site; it is no wonder that according to Wikileaks revelations, Amano was described by the US mission in Vienna as ‘DG of all states, but in agreement with us’.

The basis of the IAEA report was that for the first time, Iran had begun producing fuel inside the new facility known as Fordo, under 250 feet of granite in a mountain near the holy city of Qum: the existence of this facility was known at least since 2009! Also, Iran is charged of denying IAEA officials (not Inspectors) access to the Parchin military site near Tehran.

Examination of facts regarding Amano’s (and US) complaints against Iran and the Iranian responses (which go unreported) bear witness to the theory that the IAEA chief is doing all he can to ‘pick a fight’ with Iran so that a pretext for Israeli and American bombing raids is put in place.

The long and the short of the story is that Iran is producing nuclear fuel enriched to 20 per cent purity because they require such fuel to replenish a nuclear reactor used to make medical isotopes: Iran has a legal, sovereign right (even though Israel or the US may not like it), to produce such fuel which is vastly different from that of 90 per cent purity needed for weapons.

For years, the Iranians have been denying IAEA allegations, raised at the prompting of the US and Israel, of ‘possible military dimensions’ of the Iranian program: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader himself has explicitly ruled out producing a nuclear weapon.

In any case, it defies common sense to fear that the Iranians could produce a nuclear weapon that is so precise in its impact that Israelis will be harmed, without injuring the Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza and other Arabs or Muslims who live in this congested region!

Iran’s refusal sometimes to allow IAEA ‘Inspectors’ access to their highly sensitive facilities such as Parchin is also well founded: inspectors have visited Parchin twice in 2005 and found nothing and Iran accuses the IAEA officials of leaking the names of its nuclear scientists who were assassinated by Mossad, the latest in January.

In view of these facts, it is clear as to why Iran is rejecting Israeli and Western accusations that it has nuclear ‘ambitions’ (an euphemism meaning a covert bid to develop atomic bombs), and is dismissing such suspicions as ‘ridiculous  and ‘childish’.

The agenda of the UN and its agencies, and that of the highly paid UN executives such as Ban ‘Ki moon, Navaneethan Pillai and Yukiya Amano these days appears to be almost exclusively dedicated to bringing to task the member countries and national leaders the US, UK France axis do not like. While the shameless corruption involved in this practice is abundantly clear, it causes further damage to the world due to the distraction of the UN from its core functions stipulated in the UN Charter.

Countries like Sri Lanka who are also at the receiving end of such corrupt conspiracies need to stand up alone and collectively with other developing countries at UN forums.

5 Responses to “The drumbeats for war against Iran is a crime against world peace”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    The ludicrous nature of the current FRENZY against Iran is that it is being orchestrated by Western NUCLEAR POWERS, both declared (US, UK etc) and undeclared (Israel with 200+ warheads) of the world, against a nation that has never resorted to aggressive war against any other country in the last century!

    Every sovereign nation is entitled to develop and utilize the benefits of nuclear energy, and if threatened by its enemies, nuclear weapons also. Iran … more than most countries … is OPENLY BEING THREATENED with bombing and even invasion by land, on a daily basis. Iran is ENTITLED TO DEFEND itself.

    There is NOTHING in International Law that requires a country to remain defenceless against threats made against it. The right to arm itself against aggression is an inherent right of every country, to whatever extent it deems necessary. Relying on this principle, most Western Powers, China, India, Pakistan and most recently North Korea, have developed nuclear arsenals. One can only guess Pakistan’s fate if it were not a Nuclear Power.

    What is ILLEGAL under International Law is the USE of Nuclear Weapons against other nations as the aggressor, implying FIRST USE of nuclear weapons in a conflict. Iran has not made use of ANY WEAPONS, Nuclear or non-Nuclear, in an offensive mode in the last century. Most recently, it defended itself against Iraq that launched an unprovoked sudden attack. Iraq, we recall, used Chemical Weapons provided by the US to Saddam Hussein in that war against Iran. Today, Israel is demanding 30-ton bunker busting boms from the US for attacking Iran’s nuclear installations.

    Although ENTITLED by International Law it develop Nuclear Weapons in its own defense, Iran claims it is developing nuclear technologies only for energy production, and medical and other civilian uses of enriched isotopes. Whether we believe this claim or not, the fact is that Iran is ENTITLED to develop Nuclear Technologies for whatever use it pleases, including nuclear weapons, as long as it does not use those Nuclear Weapons in aggressive war. No nation state interested in survival will ever use Nuclear Weapons aggressively … that is a prescription for national suicide. This reality leads to the Principle of Nuclear Containment that has so far prevented nuclear war between the current nuclear powers. The same principle will work in the case of Iran, if it becomes a nuclear weapons power in the future.

    Some say that “Iran is floating on oil” and therefore, it does not need ANY NUCLEAR ENERGY. They claim that that alone is clear proof that Iran is developing Nuclear Technologies for weapons purposes.

    That is an unwarranted UNTRUTH, contrary to the facts underlying Iran’s future energy needs. Several years ago, the journal Technology Review of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published an article on Iran’s ability to meet its own internal demand for petroleum products. This article projected that given Iran’s rapidly increasing population (currently 77 million, growth rate 0.8% per year, leveling out at 100 million in 2050) and internal consumption, Iran would become a NET IMPORTER of oil and petroleum products within the next TWO DECADES.

    If Iran’s leaders are the careful and intelligent people that I think they are, they would know this also, and prepare to meet the energy needs of their people long before their oil resources run out, and while they still have the oil revenues to pay for developing the alternative sources of energy. For meeting BASE LOAD needs of Iran, there is NO OTHER VIABLE ALTERNATIVE to nuclear energy. Therefore, Iran MUST OF NECESSITY develop nuclear technology. Given that the Western Powers give every indication of preventing the supply of Nuclear Fuels to Iran, and even Russia is forced into dragging its feet completing the Russian-built nuclear reactor, Iran MUST DEVELOP not only its own Nuclear Reactors but also produce its own Nuclear Fuels from indigenous ore deposits.

    Given these self-evident TRUTHS, the current VENDETTA against Iran by Western Powers, demonizing and threatening war against a nation acting well within its sovereign and inalienable rights, that has never resorted to aggressive war against other countries in recent memory, is ABSOLUTELY WRONG, and is INDEED A CRIME of vast proportions.

  2. aloy Says:

    Ananda-USA,
    Your first para above refers.
    Do you know that Iran’s declared objective is to wipe out the state of Israel from the face of the earth. Even the smallest animal in this world has the right to live. Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a load of bull; same was with North Korea. Due to the declared objective of Iran, there is a threat to Israels and they have a right to strike.
    Israel has helped us to defeat LTTE by providing us with Kafirs and Dovras when most others were rejecting our requests for arms, although they helped tamil terrorists also at the start. I sincerely feel that we should not take sides on this issue and stay neutral.

  3. AnuD Says:

    Aloy:

    I listened to a radio program by the PBR (public broadcasting) in the US. Iran since early 1950s had reached to US to have good relationships. At that time, Iranian Prime minister was one Mohamad or some name like that. But, US never gave a chance to the Iran. So, what ever happened in Iran, the west was behind most of the time. As recent as Afghan war time, Iran had helped to contain AL-Qaeda and had given information. But, US did not change the stand.

    Probably, Israel did not want it that way.

    If you search these information should be in the public domain.

    From Arab side, they are really cornered. I heard, even Wahabi ? sect or what ever the extremist Islamic sect also was born in Saudi Arabia as a reactionary force to the western harassment.

    Check and see to confirm that how far I am correct.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Aloy,

    I really don’t want to take sides in the looming Israel-Iran conflict that could drag the world into a much wider war, except to state that Iran is being unfairly demonized and targeted for exercising its sovereign right to use nuclear technology for energy production and/or for building nuclear weapons. Denying Iran nuclear technology is one thing; attacking Iran to relieve your fears is yet another.

    The fear that Israel has of Iran goes beyond fear of nuclear wepons Iran may develop. It is based on Israel’s fear that Iran will become immune to its military threats, and will then be able to support its Shia Moslem community in Lebanon (which Israel has invaded on several occasions), its ally Syria, and its general support for a just solution for the Palestinian Arabs.

    You say that Iran threatens to wipe out Israel, and that this is sufficient reason for pre-emptive military attacks on Iran. First, those threatening statements attributed to Ahmadinejad have largely been exaggerated and misinterpreted. Ahmadinejad has called for strong opposition to Israel in Lebanon and for an equitable solution in Palestine. Iran has provided military support to the Lebanese Shia to defend themselves very successfully against the last Israeli invasion. That is at the root of Israel’s fears. Also, Ahmadinejad has been accused of “denying the Jewish Holocaust.” But, he has refuted those attributions and clarified that what he said was that “Moslems of the Middle East should not be held responsible for, and have to pay for, genocidal crimes committed by Europeans against the Jewish people.

    Finally, let us address the legality of aggressive pre-emptive attacks against nations. If pre-emptive attacks were LEGAL, then Japan would be innocent of war crimes in attacking Pearl Harbor to destroy the US Naval Fleet anchored there. At that time, an oil embrgo imposed by the US on Japan was bringing Japan to its knees, and Japan viewed it as an existential threat. Yet, that attack against a peaceful nation was declared a WAR CRIME, and Tojo, the prime minster of Japan, and his military anf polical followers were convicted as war criminals, ansd executed.

    On the other hand, the invasion of Iraq by the US-UK alliance, on the pretext of Weapons of Mass Destruction being develop by Saddam Hussein, supported by false fabricated evidence, killed over 1-million Iraqis and about, 5,000 US troops, and wounded over 30,000 US troops. That ILLEGAL pre-emptive attack WAS a war crime for which no one will ever be held accountable … for powerful victors rarely are.

    Israel has already made two pre-emptive attacks on an Iraqi reactor and a Syrian reactor in the past … it was never held accountable for those attacks as war crimes. Being unpunished for those acts, it is now poised to attack Iran also. However, in this case there will be a heavy price to pay for Iran has missiles capable of reaching Israel. So, Israel wants to drag in the US, and get the US to do the awful work, but President Obama is unwilling to take on another conflict at a time the US military is fully committed and the economy is faltering.

    My main point is, no matter what a nation’s fears are, or what pre-textual excuses it can conjure up, a pre-emptive attack on a peaceful nation that is opposed to you is still ILLEGAL. It has been so in the PAST and should be so in the FUTURE. The debacle of the attack on Iraq on fake WMD fears should at least teach us that.

  5. Voice123 Says:

    Aloy I used to think like you until I learnt the Western media deliberately distorted Ahmedijenad. What he means is that Many European Jews claiming as their exclusive ancestral homeland is a lie because they are descended from white European converts not the Prophet Abraham. Thus they are not Jewish by race but Europeans. It would be like a Sri Lankan or Asian Anglican trying to claim a part of England exclusively by force.

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