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Feb-24-2014 12:00printcomments

Punishing Iranians on Netanyahu's Orders

Who is the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East? And why does Congress not impose sanctions on Israel?

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel shows an illustration as he describes his concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions

(RICHMOND) - The CIA repeatedly warned President Reagan that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was using outlawed mustard gas and nerve agents against Iran. But Reagan continued providing Saddam Hussein with intelligence and even materials for chemical weapons. Reagan even sent Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad to shake hands with Hussein and assure him of continued U.S. support.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians died in this 1980s war. Ahmed was one of the “lucky” ones. As a teenager, Ahmed “survived” one of Hussein’s chemical attacks, But he lost his right eye and 80% of the vision in the left. And his lungs were so badly burned by the chemicals that to this day he needs special pills and inhalers to alleviate the pain of breathing. Ahmed has had numerous operations in attempts to save what remains of his eyesight.. His body rejected two cornea transplants for lack of anti-rejection medicine. In fact much of the medicine he needs for his eyes and his lungs is unavailable in Iran due to U.S. sanctions.

But Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC (his lobby in the U.S.) are not satisfied. They are calling for more sanctions and even outright war – because of Iran’s nuclear-energy program.

Paradoxically, Iran is the one country in the Middle East which has not attacked its neighbors in 200 years. Iran has no nuclear-weapons program. It is a signatory of the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) and has allowed international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

By contrast, Israel bombs or invades its neighbors at will. It. has sabotaged Iran’s nuclear-enrichment facilities, and Israeli assassins have murdered Iranian engineers. Israel itself has hundreds of atomic bombs. It built the first ones using uranium stolen from the U.S.. Israel refuses to sign the NPT or to allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities.

So who is the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East? And why does Congress not impose sanctions on Israel?

With few exceptions U.S. congresspersons follow Netanyahu’s orders as relayed by AIPAC. All four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation must vote according to instructions from AIPAC. They have all received major contributions from lobbyists for Israel.

Last year AIPAC added the legislature of the smallest state to its conquests. The Rhode Island legislature adopted anti-Iran sanctions dictated by AIPAC. Not a single state senator and only two state representatives had the courage to disobey AIPAC by voting “no.”

Meanwhile, Ahmed and millions of other Iranians suffer from the harshest sanctions in recent history.



Rod Driver studied engineering and mathematics at the University of Minnesota, receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1960. He worked at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque for six years before taking a teaching position at the University of Rhode Island for 30 years. Rod says he became a 'peacenik' in 1951 (thanks to a few weeks on Pariss Island). He became particularly active in opposition to U.S. wars in Indochina and U.S. involvement in overthrowing governments and supporting dictators in Latin America and Iran. As the Vietnam war was winding down Rod began paying attention to the abuse of Palestinians - enabled with U.S. weapons and dollars, which has never stopped. Rod is the founder and president of the non-profit Justice First Foundation.

In Rhode Island Rod was an elected delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1986, Then he was elected a state representative for 10 years. At this time he is not in office. You can write to Rod Driver at this address: rod@roddriver.com


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