letter to benjamin netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu,
It’s a shame you will never spend time in Iran. Isfahan is lovely; the Sheikh Loftollah Mosque and Nagsh-e-Jahan square exquisite. There used to be a McDonald’s style motorway café just outside Qom you might enjoy.
When you look north from Tehran you see the beautiful Alborz mountain range. On the other side you dip down to the Caspian Sea. Good skiing for the wealthy elite. Good courting for young people wanting to avoid the eyes of the Islamic puritan State. Sad to see couples spring apart when they spot you then laugh when they realise you are not Iranian. Don’t get me wrong, it is indeed a nasty and cruel regime, but with significant progressive countervailing forces that could still bring about change. A divided State that could go either way. Which way do you want it to go?
Iran, you may have noticed, has American troops across its border with Afghanistan, American access to airfields just across the border with Turkmenistan, nuclear Sunni Pakistan in the south-east, Russia with nuclear weapons in the north, Israel with nuclear weapons in the west. Have you ever wondered why they wanted the protection of a nuclear weapon?
But, of course, we learnt from you recently the existence of a nuclear weapons programme in Iran up until 2015. Big news. MOSSAD bagged a stack of old nuclear archives from a warehouse in Iran a little while ago, and there you were presenting on television your definitive case against Iran. What an amazing revelation! Before 2015, the Iranians were developing a bomb, not telling anyone, not talking about it, threatening further proliferation. How can you trust a State that behaves like that?
Just a minute though, isn’t that how Israel behaved when it developed its own nuclear weapons? And helped apartheid South Africa to do the same.
By the way, if the captured nuclear archives are such a deal-breaking revelation, why did Russia, China, France, UK, USA, Germany and the European Union (P5+1) spend so much time getting a closely monitored nuclear deal in 2015 (JCPOA) that halted uranium enrichment and development of a viable atomic bomb? What other reason did the P5 + 1 have for their long and tortuous negotiations than that Iran was creating the capacity for the development of a nuclear weapon. Come to that why are you clocking up air-miles trying to drum up support for the maverick American position of wrecking the agreement?
Iran is proudly nationalist and, amongst predominantly the less well off, devoutly Shi’a. It suffered terribly in the 1980-1988 war against Western-supported Iraq and, like Israel, has genuine defence concerns. Presumably MOSSAD has told you that that bullying Iran will strengthen the hardliners and Revolutionary Guards. And that the only alternative to the nuclear deal is, probably sooner rather than later, to risk a major military confrontation that could drag in super-powers.
Do you really want to take this risk? I know you are having a little bother with allegations of corruption and things are not looking too good for you. But I can’t believe you are doing all this just to divert Israeli public attention. As a former soldier you will not have a romantic picture of war. You will know that war with Iran will cost many Jewish lives as well as Iranian, many more than the Yom Kippur war you served in. As a father and grandfather I hope this weighs heavily on you.
I think our Prime Minister this afternoon will share some of your concerns about Iran’s role in the Middle East, but I hope you listen to her about JCPOA. Try talking to your enemies as well as your friends. There are more ways of influencing people than killing them. One is diplomacy. I recommend it.
A British Grandfather
Leave a Reply.