The Satirist’s Guide To the Iranian Nuclear Crisis

By Ebrahim Nabavi

Published January 20, 2006, issue of January 20, 2006.

It’s hard for many Westerners to understand what’s going on in my fellow Iranians’ heads, what with our saying we’re going to wipe certain countries off of the map one moment and we’re going to go nuclear or bust the next.

The confusion is such that I feel obligated to step forward at this time and bring a measure of clarity and understanding to this grave international situation. And so I offer you my very own “Unabridged and Uncensored Guide To Understanding the Iranian Nuclear Crisis.”

Does Iran have the nuclear bomb?

I don’t think so. If it did, all Iranians would know about it. And when the Iranian people know something, then the whole world knows about it, because an Iranian cannot keep a secret, even if he is the minister of intelligence.

Would Iranians like to have the bomb?

Yes and no. There are two types of specialists in Iran: one that knows what a nuclear bomb is and what are its benefits and harms, and the other kind, which does not know any of these things. Those who know what it is do not wish to have it. Those that do not know would love to have it.

Why do Iranians want to have nuclear energy for peaceful purposes?

Because Americans do not wish Iranians to have this energy. This, of course, is not true just for nuclear energy. If America starts supporting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today, the Iranian government will remove him from power within a week. In general, Iranians like whatever Americans don’t.

Why is it not possible to come to an agreement with the Iranian government?

Every country in the world has one government, and the people in government are the ones you talk to about hardline groups. But in Iran, the government itself is hardline, so talks to control the government must be held with the moderates outside the government. This is not possible, though, because anybody who has any sense in his head has no power, and those who do have power have nothing in their heads.

Why should the West not be alarmed about Iran getting the nuclear bomb?

Because the current Iranian government does not wish to stop Israel with its nuclear weapons. It wants to stop its opposition groups.

Why should the West be alarmed about Iran getting the nuclear bomb?

Because one must be alarmed with whatever happens in Iran.

Why can Iran not trust the West?

First, an Iranian does not trust anyone, let alone a foreigner.

Second, an Iranian cannot trust anyone who is hiding something from him. He also cannot trust someone who he can hide something from.

Third, trusting anyone in general is very difficult for the current government in Iran. Whoever it trusts it must engage in talks with. To do that, it must first think. And to think, it must act rationally. But if it acts rationally, it would lose its political power because others can act more rationally and think better.

Fourth, perhaps the Iranian government wants to do something against countries that want to trust it, without those countries knowing it, which of course requires that it can’t trust those governments.

Fifth, Westerners have specific plans that they openly announce, then implement to achieve specific goals. Now tell me, how could you possibly trust people like that?

Why can’t the West trust Iran?

First, to gain trust, Western officials contact the Iranian government and talk to its representatives. Then they develop trust. A few days later, they notice that the Iranian government has changed. Just as they talk to gain trust again, the government changes.

Usually when a new government comes to power, its members announce that they do not trust the previous government. The previous government, for its part, announces that it, too, does not trust the new government. The West is then stuck with two governments that do not trust each other, but expect the West to trust them.

Second, Westerners talk to Iranian representatives and reach an agreement. Then they realize that those they have been having talks with are not trusted by their own minister. So then they talk with the minister, but soon realize that the minister of foreign affairs has no right to make decisions regarding foreign policy.

So then they talk with the president, but again soon realize that he, too, is not trusted by the leader of the country on foreign policy issues. So then they study the positions of the supreme leader and realize that his positions are different from those of the minister, while both positions are official.

Third, Iranians are either trusted but have no power, or are not trusted but have political power.

Fourth, when Iranian politicians are alone, they are completely moderate and calm; when they give news conferences, they are completely conservative; and when they give public speeches, they are completely radical and hardline. Would you trust these people?

Fifth, pick any old issue for discussion and present it to the powers that be. The ambassador will say, “we will certainly do it.” He’ll pass it on the foreign minister, who’ll say, “I agree that it should be done.” His spokesman will say, “perhaps it will be done.”

The president, for his part, will say, “it cannot be done.” The leader of the Parliament will say, “it can possibly be done,” followed by the chairman of the State Expediency Council, who will say, “it may be done later.”

And the supreme leader, of course, will say: “It is exactly as the officials have stated.”



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