The president of Iran will speak today in Columbia university. It isn't everyday when a so-called "enemy of state" speaks in Public - and is perhaps an opportunity that is unique to truly liberal societies. Here's my two cents on the whole US-Iran standoff.
Firstly, let me condemn Iran for its obvious lack of civil liberties. It is disgusting that a nation, in this day and age, adopts sexism as a national policy. It is disgusting that leaders attempt to deny (more out of convenience than anything else) perhaps the most shameful and horrendous acts ever perpetrated on western society (viz. the Holocaust). Let me also condemn other transgressions of civil liberties in Iran - the enforcement of a maniacal dress code, the extreme censoring of the press and intolerance of dissent.
The enforcement of a ruthless interpretation of the sharia law might be barbaric, but I am of the firm belief that when western states go to war on other states because they are deemed "barbaric" - then there's a hidden agenda somewhere. (read O.I.L).
Firstly, Shia Iran hates Sunni Al-Qaeda. If Iran ever made a nuclear bomb, it would surely never fall into UBL's hands. Their main incentive to develop the bomb is to keep the Israeli/US forces at bay to make sure they do not attack. They are not surely stupid enough to use it on the US or Israel first. The subsequent nuclear blitz will vapourise their nation instantly. A nuclear Iran, frankly isn't such a big deal.
Let's face it. Iran has a loud-mouthed hard-liner for president. Someone whose electoral future depends on how much "testosterone" he shows on international grounds (as long as he does not make a huge mess out of his internal affairs). Because, he is Iran's Bush. Iran's right wing cow-boy. The people who vote for him are those religious patriotic zealots.
Why all the vitriol? He knows the US won't attack Iran. He's calling the US bluff. Look at the population of Iraq. 25 million under a dictator they hated. Now, in Iran, it's 65 million - in a more democratic society. The entire US army will not be able to handle Iran and Iraq together.
And if Bush attacks Iran, crude prices go north. Iran won't sell crude. Petrol (gas) hits $10 a gallon. US economy gets hit. Corporations lose. Republicans lose. There's never going to be a war with Iran. Ahmedinijad is trying to derive as much political mileage as he can from that bluff. And it's working. But he does need all the mileage he can get - considering the economic mess that his policies have got the proud Persians into.