By: Kian Mokhtari
While many may consider the latest comments by the Israeli President as upping the stakes in the war of rhetoric between Tehran and Tel Aviv, Peres's remarks actually present a ray of hope for ending Iran's nuclear program impasse.
In his latest comments Peres has carried on with his usual accusations of Iran trying to develop nuclear weapons, but he has also pulled the strangest rabbit out of the hat. He has stated that he believes a conventional military attack cannot halt Tehran's nuclear program.
Peres has said, "Simply attacking the (Iran's) nuclear facilities is not the be-all and end-all…the first thing is to tell the Iranians ... 'If you use a nuclear weapon -no matter against whom- you'll get a nuclear response.”
He has also acknowledged with a previously unseen degree of pragmatism that, "You can destroy the centrifuges but you cannot destroy the knowledge about building centrifuges." The latter comment says it all in diplomatic language.
Peres has literally admitted that as far as he is concerned the era of making threats of military strikes and considering military options is at an end against the Islamic Republic. And although his language is heavily barbed still, there are signs he has resorted to common sense.
The Israeli President's threat can indeed also be interpreted as reluctant approval of Iran's civilian nuclear program because the alternative -ultimately- is the old Cold War era's Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine.
Iran has stated that it is in stern opposition to the possession of nuclear weapons. In fact the Islamic Republic's position has just been reiterated by its Foreign Minister. Iran believes that with the fossil fuels presenting a serious environmental hazard in addition to the finite nature of the resource, nuclear energy should be made available to all nations and nuclear weapons should be eliminated altogether.
Allegations and publicity aside on Iran's nuclear program, the only set of facts in the issue that can be relied on with any degree of certainty are the reports submitted by the UN nuclear agency.
The IAEA says Iran does not possess a military nuclear program and dozens of unannounced inspections as well as 24/7 surveillance by its cameras and inspectors at all of Iran's nuclear installations have not turned up any deviation toward military ends in its nuclear activities.
So what could there be left for the Israeli President to say?
Exactly what Shimon Peres has said in his interview with Israel's Channel Ten; that in the unlikely event of an Iranian decision to manufacture nuclear weapons and further in the fantasy scenario of Iran ever using nuclear weapons offensively it can be assured of total destruction.
On the face of it Peres has threatened Iran with nuclear strikes instead of conventional attacks, but just below the surface of his comments lurks the tacit Israeli acceptance of the inevitability of the success of Iran's civilian nuclear energy program.
In the real world the Islamic republic will doubtless continue to proceed with provision of nuclear generated energy for its runaway domestic demand. On the other hand in the absence of an Iranian nuclear weapons' program, Peres' threats of mutually assured doomsday will remain firmly rooted in the realms of fantasy.