The popular appeal of nuclear weapon free world rhetoric has not been lost on Tehran. This is an insight the Iranian regime shares with Obama administration, which has made nuclear arms reduction arguably its top foreign policy objective. Not to be outdone by the Nuclear Summit here in Washington, the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held its own public relations extravaganza last weekend, a conference in Tehran under the banner “Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None.” The goal of the summit was allegedly to promote global disarmament and non-proliferation, and was reportedly attended by 70 nations. Who knows, maybe Ahmadinejad will be the next Nobel Prize winner.
Interestingly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man whose government stubbornly forges ahead with its enriched uranium program to the great concern and consternation of the United States and Europe, declared that the era of nuclear threats is over.
“They should know that the era of reliance on nuclear weapons has come to an end,” Ahmadinejad said, addressing the conference, and taking a pot shot at his critics. “Threatening to use weapons, particularly nuclear weapons, is special to those who lack clear logic and human mentality,” he added. “Using threats against a strong logic belongs to the past and lacks efficiency in relations.” Given Ahmadinejad’s own long record of threatening to wipe the state of Israel off the map, this is pretty rich.
According to Al Jazeera television, Ahmadinejad called reliance on nuclear weapons a heritage bequeathed from “uncivilized” governments and those who “lag behind history.” Among those lagging behind history is presumably President Obama, who has left open the possibility of a nuclear retaliatory attack against Iran and North Korea, while renouncing the use of nuclear weapons against all other nations.
Finally, the outcome document of the conference was a communique that called for a nuclear free Middle East, while, of course, condemning Israel as the only country refusing to give up its weapons – which Israel has never officially admitted that it has.
Whether you are in Washington or in Tehran, the slogan of a world without nuclear weapons remains undeniably potent, even decades after the prospect of nuclear superpower confrontation receded and even as the numbers of nuclear warheads in both the United States and Russia has continued to shrink. The fact that a world without nuclear weapons might well be a less stable world, more prone to conventional conflict, does not figure into this equation. Nor does the fact nuclear technology cannot be “un-invented” and is likely to proliferate unless the international community comes to grips with Iran’s nuclear program, which is producing enriched uranium at an ever growing pace. These are the issues serious politicians need to grapple with.