With the release of the IAEA report that essentially confirms Iran's much suspected scramble for nuclear weapons to be well underway, a host of opinion pieces have been appearing in the British media to try and sway public opinion against any kind of intervention being taken against the Iranian threat.
Naturally, The Guardian and The Independent have led the way in this, putting out editorials to assure the public that we can learn to live with a nuclear Iran.
Some of the Op-eds flying around verge on being utterly self contradictory; at once calling into doubt whether Iran really is developing nuclear weapons, arguing that such weapons would be of no threat to the rest of us and that even if they were all efforts to prevent their development would be both futile and disastrous. Several of these writers have rather disingenuously claimed that intervention against Iran would inevitably lead to an Iraq style ground war, something they know full well the public would never countenance.
Perhaps most remarkable of all is the unguardedly anti-American tone that some of these articles have taken, pre-emptively castigating America for a pre-emptive strike that Washington has given no indication it is even readying itself for, let alone carried out.
Yet those who argue that a nuclear Iran poses no threat to our security are simply being historically illiterate. They ignore entirely not only the vehemently anti-American stance present in the speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini, but also the aggressively anti-Western thinking of Ali Shariati, whose philosophy powered forward Iran's Islamic Revolution.
This apparent complete lack of understanding about the Iranian regime is only all the more prevalent among those commentators who present the rulers of the regime as perfectly reasonable men with whom we can do business. They seem to ignore entirely the obsession with messianism and martyrdom present in the world view of Ahmadinejad and sections of the Revolutionary Guard who are inspired by and loyal to Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and clerics based in the Iranian holy city of Qom, who preach openly the return of the 12th Imam and the onset of apocalypse. There can be little justification for doubting that Ahmadinejad really does believe this end times theology, he has spoken about it often enough, not least from the podium of the UN general assembly.
Yet in a leading article put out by The Independent it was argued that Iran "must somehow convince itself" not to develop nuclear weapons. Surely it is obvious to most rational observers that the likelihood of Ahmadinejad suddenly declaring that he doesn't know what came over him all these years is about as probable as a five year old boy from the 10th century emerging from a well to herald the end of time, something Ahmadinejad does actually appear to believe.
Those who would have the West simply ignore an increasingly ambitious and militant regime in Iran seem themselves to be ignoring the plight of the people of Iran, many of whom courageously rose up against the regime in the summer of 2009, only to be subjected to the most extreme forms of torture and oppression by the government. And yet in The Guardian Simon Jenkins has written "Iran is not a one-man, two-bit dictatorship, but a nation of 70 million people' with 'a modicum of pluralist democracy."
Ultimately, democracy cannot stay locked up in Tehran's infamous Evin prison indefinitely, but many of those who protested in 2009 were heard chanting the question of whether Obama was with them or with the regime and the silence from the West must smack of abandonment to the Green Movement. At that time it appeared that even Mousavi was taken aback by the size and strength of this movement for democracy in Iran, but if it is to ever have hope of success it may well require the kind of assistance the West gave to anti-Gaddafi rebels in Libya.
Iran has been waging a long proxy war against Britain and America in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It has stoked militancy in the discontented Shiite ghettos of Bahrain while assisting the Assad regime in Syria to crack down on all popular resistance there. It has attempted to turn Lebanon into a satellite state via its Hizbollah clients, sailed warships into the Mediterranean and developed channels of influence that reach as far as Latin America. Yet sections of the liberal media in this country have urged us to be un-alarmed and passive in the face of all of this.
Ever since Michael Foucault there have been those on the radical Left who welcomed the Islamic revolution in Iran. The red mullahs appeared to marry together the best of Marxist theory with a brand of Islam that possessed a good healthy dose of anti-Americanism. Yet today the willingness of some 'moderate' commentators to fight the Islamic Republic's propaganda war for it is truly nauseating.