Iran: Legitimising an awful tyranny is not the way to go

itMany people including the former secretary Jack Straw are calling for a rapprochement of relations with Iran. However this would be a move which would further weaken western credibility when we talk about human rights and when we try and initiate humanitarian interventions to end demonstrably evil regimes.  The last thing we need is to ally ourselves with a country which actively supports dictatorships across the region, kills activists at home and abroad and sponsors terrorism which cuts down the leaders of democracy, where leaders of democracy are few and far between.

As Dr Ali Ansari has argued the Shah of Iran wasn’t as brutal as the Islamist regime which replaced. A regime which the United States backed and we all know how the average Iranian felt about America’s backing of that particular dictator.

Many have accused the Western media of scaremongering and have used recent headlines on ISIS about Iranian thoughts to prove this point; however this simply is not the case. You may be thinking the President of Iran, Dr Rouhani, is a sensible man with a hard-headed political approach of moderation. But this isn’t the man in charge of the country; his moderation hasn’t stopped executions on charges such as heresy is just one example of the brutality and almost medieval stance on justice which is practiced by the Islamic republic.

The real leader is the Grand Ayatollah, who is not as sensible as the country’s president. For a long time he went along with the former president Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric and actions including frequently denying the holocaust. Hosting conferences to this idea, threatening Israel and creating mayhem in the region by funding groups such as Hezbollah which are not only terrorist organisations but participate in rampant crime.

Iran doesn’t just like to deny people’s rights abroad they also practice this at home. The Grand Ayatollah was responsible for the reprehensible crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters in 2009 following what many alleged was a false election to what is an extremely limited position of power.   To see the violence all one needs to do sadly is search YouTube.

The nuclear question of Iran is extremely important; Iran cannot be allowed a weapon of mass destruction.  While they claim they don’t want one, this has clearly not always been the case. Indeed before 2003 it is widely acknowledged that Iran was trying to gain a nuclear weapon.

The problems a regime like Iran’s gaining a nuclear weapon are twofold. Firstly it means the regime is essentially immovable in terms of any intervention or domestic uprising which could destabilise the country. Secondly, if Iran was to gain a nuclear weapon it would start a game of nuclear monopoly around the Middle East which would start with Saudi Arabia building a nuclear weapon which is the last thing that area of the region needs.

Iran has denied access to the IAEA of military nuclear sites and uranium enrichment has gone beyond civilian levels and is very close to weapons grade material.  So it is not out of the question that they are doing so again and no-one can say for certain if they are or not. Iran is not one of the countries in the NPT who are allowed nuclear weapons and many nations who are have reduced active stocks of nuclear weapons. One example is of America, who has reduced their nuclear stockpile to fewer than 8,000 from a cold war high of over 31,000 warheads in 1967 as seen in the graph below.  To accuse the United States of breaking international law of not reducing their arsenal which they are reducing, while excusing Iran’s failure to comply with all inspections is either being mendacious or missing some quite critical points of history and of the current situation.

The only possible plus is that the regime in Iran is stable but I find this not only to be untrue but a morally bankrupt argument. No undemocratic regime is ever stable, this is why they have extensive secret police forces and limit freedom of expression.  As seen in China with the Tiananmen Square episode and the Arab springs in the Middle East. dictatorships are always suffering from a democratic deficit which makes them vulnerable to collapse at almost any time.

As the late Christopher Hitchens once said about the Iraq war was that for once we were dethroning a dictator instead of installing one. This has to be the way Foreign policy in the west works. For once on a dictatorial regime we have got it right, legitimizing it and extending their power is not the right solution.