Biden — in Nuclear-Armed Israel — Threatens Iran Over Missile Test
WHILE ON a visit to nuclear-weaponized Israel this week, US Vice President Joe Biden threatened Iran with unspecified “action” over its testing of two long-range ballistic missiles. (ILLUSTRATION: Biden, left, with Benjamin Netanyahu)
Biden, who is nicknamed Bazooka Joe for his blunt rhetorical style, displayed typical American hypocrisy over his warning to Iran. He issued his admonition while in Tel Aviv alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose state is known to be armed with as many as 300 nuclear warheads in defiance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Earlier, Iran reportedly tested the ballistic missiles on its own remote territory. Each were said to have range of over 1,000 kilometers, and an Iranian military spokesman said the weapons were capable of hitting Israel.
Biden did not specify what the US action towards Iran would entail. But given that Washington has repeatedly violated international laws forbidding the verbal threatening of aggression by ominously stating that “all options are on the table”with regard to Iran, the US action could mean a military response. Or it could mean the US blocking the lifting of economic sanctions as part of the international nuclear accord signed last July with Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers.
For its part, Iran said that the missiles tested this week were for conventional, non-nuclear warheads. Tehran rejected US claims that it had violated the P5+1 nuclear accord, which mandates that Iran foregoes any nuclear weapons development. Iran says it has the right to develop all conventional weapons for defensive purposes.
Given that Israel actually does possess nuclear missiles and, like the US, has illegally threatened Iran on countless occasions with pre-emptive military strikes, one could reasonably expect Iran to develop long-range missiles for defense.
Only two weeks ago, the US test-fired two Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), according to Reuters. The Minuteman III missiles were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to hit targets more than 6,500 kilometers away in the South Pacific. The difference with the Iranian missile tests this week is that the American weapons are expressly designed to carry nuclear warheads — though the California test-fired missiles were on that occasion reportedly not armed with nukes.
But as deputy defense secretary Robert Work said at the time: “We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable. And that is a signal… that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary.”
According to Reuters, the US launch was the 15th such nuclear-capable ICBM test-fire since January 2011. That’s a rate of three per year.
Russia has reportedly carried out a total of 16 nuclear-capable ICBM test launches over a 25-year period since the end of the Soviet Union. That is less than one per year. A report earlier this month said that Russia was about to conduct ICBM test-launches from nuclear-powered submarines in the Barents Sea.
Many analysts reckon that the world is witnessing a new nuclear arms race. The US appears to be leading this race, with the administration of President Barack Obama having committed more than $1 trillion over the next three decades to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal.
The US has more than 4,700 warheads in military service, according to the Arms Control Association. This is more than any other country, although Russia is close behind with 4,500. Between them, the US and Russia possess 90 per cent of the world’s entire stockpile of these weapons of mass destruction.
And lest we forget, the US is the only country to have ever actually used nuclear weapons when it destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, killing over 200,000 — mainly civilians, and not including those who died horrible deaths later as a result of exposure to radiation.
This is the reality check that Washington needs, but few of its politicians seem amenable to. Instead, US politicians have an in-built double-think mental device that comes with years of indoctrination on “American exceptionalism”.
For more than 40 years since the signing of the NPT, the world is nowhere near the nuclear disarmament that it mandates of more than 160 signatory nations, including the US. Israel, being a US-sponsored rogue state, is not even a signatory of the NPT.
President Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 because of a speech that ostensibly committed his nation to nuclear disarmament. Reuters described Obama’s renewed spending on nukes an “ironic turn”. Some would simply call it a gross deception.
With North Korea last week threatening “pre-emptive nuclear strikes”on top of an alleged ICBM test only weeks before, it does seem that the world has indeed entered a new, dangerous arms race.
The US evidently presumes the right to maintain the world’s biggest arsenal, while excoriating other states like North Korea and Iran for merely, and allegedly, contemplating the development of the same weapons.
Joe Biden was speaking in a state this week that continues to illegally occupy Palestinian land in defiance of countless UN resolutions, a state which possesses nuclear weapons in defiance of any international control, and yet Biden chooses to focus his admonishment on Iran based on spurious complaints.
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Source: American Herald Tribune