The language is white hot. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tells the US Congress to reject any deal with Iran. The red line for him has been crossed a long time ago – namely, when Iran began to enrich uranium. What Netanyahu wants is to end Iran’s nuclear program. What ambiguity lies between the civilian and military program must not be considered – none of it should be allowed.
It seems as though the realization, in 1998, of Pakistani nuclear weapons is not germane to Vijay’s otherwise well-considered op-ed. But that is deceiving. The Pakistanis developed their weapons in response to the Indian acquisition, and the US long maintained that the Chinese, for reasons explained above, supplied both fissile material and technical hardware to the Pakistanis. By now, with the longest war in US history, we should all know that only the area of Afghanistan separates Pakistan from Iran. Pakistan additionally has a very robust array of delivery systems. My recent research revealed that the Muslim population of Pakistan is fairly evenly divided between Sunni and Shia, but I am not an astute enough observer to know which side of that religious divide the current and past leadership lies.
So with all of this around them and within striking range of them, Iran has to this day, decided not to pursue a nuclear weapon. It is hard not to see Iran as the only sane actor in this game that is being played.
Not only has India been helped by the USA and France to develop their nukes without NPT, but the poverty in India (“the world’s largest democracy”) and the lack of basic necessities for the vast majority of people despite the increasing number of middle class members makes the waste of resources spent on nukes and other weapons just so much worse. Iran, besides being non aggressive (sorry, bibi, it is true), has decent education and opportunities for most of its population despite the unjust and unfair discrimination by the USA and others.