Dilip Hiro’s December 2 piece, “
Enriched by millions of daily encounters in bazaars, Iranians are adept at bargaining and confident in the knowledge, acquired over centuries, that skillful bargaining and brinkmanship go hand in hand.
Not only is this Iranian cousin of Shylock silly, he follows an apparently related Iranian who begins Mr. Hiro’s article:
Imagine a pious Muslim faced with a ban on fabricating a certain kind of weapon. He is committed to obeying unquestioningly the fatwas of his religious leader and yet discovers that producing such a weapon, or threatening to do so, is a strong lever for gaining benefits from a powerful group living in the neighborhood. Replace “a pious Muslim” with “
Is this analysis? Is it information? No, it is racialist nonsense which for Mr. Hiro doubles as both. Much has been said of George Bush’s “axis of evil”; less has been said of the depictions of
So on October 31, amid chants of “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) and “Death to America,” all 247 members present in the Iranian parliament unanimously called on the government to restart the country’s uranium enrichment program, using its already manufactured centrifuges, and to exercise its right to complete the nuclear fuel cycle enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is a signatory.
Iranian secularism has seen better days, yes. “Death to
all the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy…with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.
Noam Chomsky, following Max Weber, has written tirelessly of an “ethic of responsibility” in which citizens, like the reporters and intellectuals who inform them, account for the foreseeable results of their own (rather than the other guy’s) actions. Accordingly, instead of speculating on machinations of foreign governments or of the cunning Iranian, I think we would do well to hold our own government accountable to the international agreements that it claims to be enforcing.