The presence of Iran on the world’s list of nuclear states has been a sore point for years with the US and its allies. The argument runs that Iran is an ‘irresponsible’ state, given to making threatening comments directed against the US and countries closely affiliated with it. But does this argument really hold any weight, does it really make any sense? Also on a purely moral basis, why should certain nations be allowed to maintain huge arsenals of nuclear weapons, while others are rebuked for doing so? Is there any way of saying if Washington is really more responsible than Tehran? This cannot after all be a scientific measure, and in its time Washington has been guilty of many actions that would not be considered responsible.
The broader issue of nuclear weapons and their nature, of course, exists. It can, logically enough, be argued that these weapons are inherently immoral. Indeed, we just need to look at the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, or the lingering after-effects of the nuclear leak at the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine in 1986, or the more recent one in Japan in 2011 to be persuaded of this. The images from these places remind us of just what nuclear weapons do; the kind of prolonged suffering they inflict. They should not be a part of our world.
But, of course, this rule should then be equitably applied. The same principle should hold true for every nation – whether or not it is a US ally. The singling out of Iran is simply a demonstration of bias, given the number of countries which hold nukes. The strategies used have, in fact, turned Iran into a pariah state, and this is possibly the most dangerous thing of all. More rationality needs to be shown when addressing the delicate matter of Iran’s nuclear weapons, and more equality demonstrated towards other nations – even while at a broader level a stronger global campaign is needed against all nuclear weapons, no matter which nation they belong to.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2013.