For me, any sensible discussion of Iran must accept a number of facts. I will set these out as Set A and Set B. Both sets are true.
- Iranian Islamic fundamentalism allied to fierce anti-Americanism was born from CIA intervention to topple democracy and keep in power a ruthless murdering despot for decades, in the interests of US oil and gas companies
- Iranian anti-Americanism was fuelled further by US support for US friend and ally Saddam Hussein who was armed to wage a murderous war against Iran, again in the hope of US access to Iran’s oil and gas
- The US committed a terrible atrocity against civilians by shooting down an Iranian passenger jet
- Iran is surrounded by US military forces and has been repeatedly threatened to the extent that the desire to develop a nuclear weapon is a reflex
- There is monumental hypocrisy in condemning Iran’s nuclear programme while overlooking Israel’s nuclear weapons
- Iran is governed by an appalling set of vicious theocratic nutters
- Iran is not any kind of democracy. It fails the first hurdle of candidates being allowed to put forward meaningful alternatives
- Hanging of gays, stoning of adulterers, floggings, censorship and pervasive control are not fine because of cultural relativism. Iran’s whole legislative basis is inimical to universal ideals of human rights.
- Iran really is trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme, though with some years still to go.
He’s right, of course. And people who don’t accept that both sets of facts are broadly true are contemptible idiots.