Like a broken record, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran once again railed against the world for what he perceives as hypocrisy regarding the equality of nations pertaining to the issue of nuclear power and weaponry. This latest accusation comes only days after the U.N. Security Council passed a new series of sanctions on the country for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
Ahmadinejad’s target in these accusations is the Security Council, but the fuel for his argument is Israel. Unlike Iran, Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is not held accountable for its obvious possession of nuclear arms. Though Israel has never claimed to own nuclear weapons, the fact that it does is universally mocked as “the worst kept secret of the Middle East”.
Why does such an obvious double standard exist? Simply put, it exists because Israel is an ally of the United States while Iran is not. The United States wants a strategic presence in the Middle East that it can always rely on. If Israel is to be that presence, then America must grant it almost universal support. In Israel’s defense, its position on the matter is understandable. Surrounded on all sides by potential enemies, it has to take extraordinary measures to defend itself.
Iran, on the other hand, is an Islamic state where crowds routinely gather to chant “Death to America!” It is also has a history of friction with the United States that goes much farther back than the hostage crisis of 1979-81. After the CIA orchestrated the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in response to the country’s attempt to nationalize its own oil, it became apparent that a degree of resentment would exist. Furthermore, extremist groups that Iran supports, most notably Hezbollah, are viewed (and rightly so) as terrorist organizations by the west.
But not everyone on the Security Council agreed with the decision for sanctions. Turkey and Brazil, representatives of up-and-coming countries, voted against the sanctions. Perhaps they fear being treated in a similiar way in the future or perhaps they believe that the Iranian people should be given a chance to prove that their nuclear ambitions are peaceful. After all, it has been centuries since Iran (or Persia as it was then known) has actually marched an army into a neighboring state. Even the United States cannot claim that distinction.
Many believe that Israel, probably out of desperation, is far more likely to aggressively use nuclear weapons than Iran.