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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sarah Palin's new assignment: Nuclear Iran

On Friday, Governor Sarah Palin once again took the spotlight from the Republican presidential nominee and sang a brand new anti-Iran jingle: "Iran is planning a second Holocaust."

As the two-year governor of Alaska has embarked on a mission to crawl through mud and barbed wire to prove her foreign policy credentials, she seems to have found a safe haven.

Iran's nuclear program has been the issue of a hot debate in recent years. Thanks to the media, a nuclear Iran is seen by many Americans as almost as dangerous as al-Qaeda.

Citizens of non-aligned countries, however, may only be able to grasp the extent of US worries with the thought of their own concerns about the dangers posed by US hegemony and Israel - the owner of at least 200 nuclear warheads, according to former US president Jimmy Carter.

On September 15, the UN nuclear watchdog said in its latest report on Iran that the agency had failed to discover any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in the country.

Sarah Palin, along with her factually seasoned colleagues, rejected the findings of the UN body.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Blaine, Minnesota on Friday, she told a crowd of 9,000 supporters that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to acquire nuclear weapons to use them against Israel.

Her declaration comes three weeks after she officially trapped herself as Senator John McCain's running mate. The neo-conservative team running the McCain camp, under the supervision of Karl Rove, has had a heck of a time schooling Palin, a political outsider relatively unknown on the national stage and clueless about foreign policy.

They have even floated the contention that Sarah can understand the implications of Washington-Moscow relations even better than most Americans because of her state's proximity to Russia.

Palin, herself, confirmed the argument by saying, "They are our next-door neighbors, and you can see Russia from land here."

While she managed to win rave reviews for her intelligent remarks, most Americans saw the argument as a mere joke, forcing the McCain camp to burn the midnight oil to find an even easier target: "Iran and its nukes."

What issue can be easier than Iran, a country that fell out of sphere of US influence in 1979? A country that has questioned the real extent of the Holocaust and its connection to Palestinian lands is the perfect topic for Palin to exercise her foreign policy homework.

What issue more controversial in the minds of Americans than the security of Israel; the security of a country that has been able to attain a stranglehold on US and European media.

"John McCain and I are committed to drawing attention to the danger posed by Iran's nuclear program," Palin said at the rally.

Although she practically has no factual knowledge or information about the Iranian program, raising the alarm of a 'second Holocaust' will probably generate enough buzz for her to move on to her next assignment.

The facts regarding the Iranian nuclear program?

Extensive monitoring of Iran's nuclear program for five years prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to declare that Tehran enriches uranium-235 to a level 'less than 5 percent'.

The announced rate is consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant and fully supports Iran's assertion that it seeks only to attain nuclear technology for civilian uses, such as electricity generation. Nuclear arms production, meanwhile, requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

The UN body also repeated its previous contention that it has been able to verify 'the non-diversion' of the Iranian enrichment program, adding that all nuclear material in Iran 'remain under agency containment and surveillance'.

It would not be a hassle if Gov. Palin were to get a hold of a copy of the report, study it, look up some facts about Iran and its nuclear program, and then make assumptions about the real intentions of the Middle Eastern country.

Sarah has proved her ability to memorize lines effectively and repeat them without a problem.

"Thanks, but no thanks, to that 'bridge to nowhere'," Palin repeated in at least seven speeches to prove she did not seek congressional budget for the 'bridge to nowhere' - a claim many still doubt.

When in her first televised interview since becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee she was asked what a McCain-Palin administration would do if Israel strikes Iranian nuclear installations, Palin said she would not 'second-guess' the measures Israel wants to take against Iran.

Israel has alongside the US threatened to launch military strikes against nuclear installations in Iran under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), seeks weapons of mass destruction.

Pressured on the issue of the possibility of US cooperation in an Israeli attack against Iran, Palin simply repeated the same statement, "We cannot second-guess what Israel has to do."

While Palin's foreign policy competency remains a topic of major debate, her anti-Iran remarks suggest that she either seeks to gain the full-fledged support of the powerful Israeli lobby or that she is in need of brushing up on major foreign policy issues in the five remaining weeks before the US general elections.

Palin has already enlightened the world on her views of a new Cold War and a 'second Holocaust' but what is the extent of the hockey mom's political savvy? The world will soon see…