The United States and Iran have become like two men dueling with banjos as to which one can make the loudest sound. For each George Bush action, there is a responding sound of defiance from Iranian officials. In the latest outburst, Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards uttered threats of retaliation against America. “The enemy knows,” said Jafari, “that if it attacks Iran, it will certainly get stuck in a quagmire much deeper than Iraq and Afghanistan and it will be defeated.” He ended his tirade with a note of defiance, “If enemies prove naive enough to invade Iran, they will be slapped hard.” Bush continues his verbal threats to create uncertainty within Iran as to his next move. On Wednesday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns commented that war against Iran was “not inevitable and not desirable.” Russia, standing on the edge of the duelers has made clear its opposition to war, and a Foreign Ministry spokesperson let the United States know, “we don’t support plans for a ‘holy alliance’ against that country.”
Words don’t kill, but words can lead to actions that result in death. It is unfortunate the United States continues gaining a reputation of not merely threatening nations, but of taking actions that result in war not violence. There is some support in the European Union for sanctions, but none for war against Iran. Perhaps, a first step is cooling down the rhetoric and focusing on reaching an agreement that respects the integrity of Iran while avoiding proliferation of atomic weapons.