#806 – Dick Bernard: Beginning the Crazy Circus about Negotiations with Iran.

Here is a sketch map of the environs of Iran, related to Minnesota: Iraq environs ca 2005001. I sketched this in 2005 during the Iraq war to give myself some context to Iraq and its region.
This is a good time to reacquaint oneself (or get acquainted for the first time) with the geography of Iran. Here’s the CIA Factbook entry about this very large county at the edge of the Middle East and south Asia.
Personally, I applaud the positive developments between the U.S. and Iran. Any effort to stabilize the relationship between our two countries is very worthwhile.
For the great majority of us, an effort to directly negotiate some agreement with Iran about anything is very good news. It has been many years since the U.S. – Iran relationship collapsed.
It goes back to the U.S. sponsored overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Mossadegh government in 1953; followed by our support of the Shah; and then, of course, the hostage crisis at the American embassy in Teheran at the end of the Carter administration.
One of the vivid memories of my life was going to see President Carter at a political event in Minneapolis in the Fall of 1978, and having to walk through a chanting phalanx of (presumably) Iranian protestors with grocery bags with eyeholes over their heads. At the time, if I recall correctly, the Shah was hospitalized at Rochester, and he had long symbolized the very worst aspects of the relationship of the U.S. with Iran, this very large and sophisticated south Asia country with a very long recorded history.
For some in our country, good news about more positive relationships with Iran is very bad news. As Cuba has been since Castro’s successful revolution about 1959, Iran is a convenient enemy. In a political context, for some, Iran is a very useful bogeyman. President George W. Bush identified it, along with Iraq and North Korea, as “the axis of evil” years ago. Of the three, Iran is the only scary enemy left (N. Korea is a very odd special case). And to some it is absolutely essential to have a viable enemy, for all sorts of nefarious reasons.
The big issue this time seems to be the nuclear issue: Iran’s supposed pretensions to build its very own nuclear bomb. Predictably, Israel, with its own major nuclear arsenal, is again politically drum-beating against Iran.
I won’t get into that argument.
Just a few days ago, unrelated at all to Iran, came a very interesting internet link with a history of nuclear testing in use in the world. It is well worth the seven or so minutes to watch.
It gives powerful context to the nuclear menace. Note who has “the bomb”…. It’s a good time to re-learn some old lessons.
Here is the text which accompanied the link:
Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing”the fear and folly of nuclear weapons.” It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.”
Here is a link with an estimate of the current nuclear arsenal by world country. It gives an idea of who has what.
The always good “Just Above Sunset” provides a good capsule of opinion about the Iran developments as viewed by politicians. You can read the posting about Iran-U.S. here. We need to be actively and directly engaged with our political leaders, always.

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