The Open Letter Draft:
President Barack Obama
The rhetoric of the Republican would-be nominee for president of the United States concerning possible military operations against Iran’s nuclear facilities is troubling. While your caution regarding such a precipitous action is rational and prudent, the fact that you occasionally remind the world that “all options are on the table” is also worrisome. The memory of the days of “Shock and Awe” when the midnight sky of Iraq was lit up by giant explosions while numerous Iraqi civilians were being killed is still vivid in most minds. The disastrous consequences of about 9 years of fighting in Iraq will be felt by all for decades to come.
The justification and political motivation for invading Iraq was developed and “sold” to the American public on the pretext of possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and a direct relationship between Iraq, Al Qaeda, and the attacks on the Twin Towers, both of which were later proven to be false. The rhetoric presently being used in the US by powerful lobby groups and their associated media appears to be leading to a program to deploy once again, the enormous military machine of the U.S. to attack, smash, and destroy another developing country.
The policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) to carry out a development program in nuclear energy in secrecy and behind closed doors, for achieving political and economic objectives is a policy shared by all nations with activities in this field and should not be an excuse for foreign powers to wage a war against Iran. A military operation against Iran has a great potential to evolve into full scale war. This war will undoubtedly bring tremendous devastation upon the Iranian people, but it also will have the potential to engulf the entire region, disrupt global oil supplies, and cripple the economies of Europe, Japan, and the USA itself, resulting in a deep, global economic depression and financial crisis. This war will also help the current government of Iran to gain political support and further opportunity to suppress its opposition groups, as was the case during the Iran-Iraq war, and to deny the Iranian people the economic and political atmosphere required for developing democracy in Iran.
We, the signatories to this open letter are previous or current professors, and graduates of the Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Teheran. We are of -diverse political opinions but share a common Iranian heritage. We believe in the equality of all nations to live in peace, strive for progress and enjoy freedom and democracy. Many of us have been victims of the IRI.
However as members of SUT academic, scientific, and industrial community, we cannot sit quietly by while our nation is threatened with military aggression. We strongly oppose any type of military strike against Iran while at the same time support the Iranian people’s long quest for peace, democracy and human rights.
We believe it is the right of Iran as a country to develop atomic energy technology to provide nuclear energy for her peaceful domestic use. We oppose the belligerent approach of IRI toward science, the scientific community, and academic freedom. We believe the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, or any other country, will jeopardize the security of all countries and will unnecessarily open the door to nuclear arm race in the region. Possessing nuclear weapons will not be a source of empowerment for the country, rather it will impose a severe liability on Iran. We believe the government of Iran, as a member of the international community and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as all nation signatories to the NPT, should adhere to all rules in regard to their nuclear energy programs and make their activities fully transparent, both domestically and internationally. As such, the Iranian government should facilitate visits by IAEA inspectors to pave the way for elimination of any doubts and ambiguities on Iran’s nuclear program. As the first step to gain the trust of the world communities, we urge the Iranian government to submit to a full IAEA authorization and inspection for enrichment of Uranium. However, it must be recognized that such a gesture by Iran alone will not advance the cause of peace in the region unless it is followed by similar
gestures by other nations.
We strongly oppose the idea of a military option against Iran, a move that is sure to cause wide spread death and destruction across the region and precipitate global economic hardships. We support continuing dialogue towards a peaceful resolution of the political issues involved. We believe in nuclear disarmament at the global level, in general, and in the Middle East, in particular, as a necessary condition for achieving peace and respect of human rights.
Jafar Arkani-Hamed, FRSC
Professor Emeritus, McGill University