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Glenn Greenwald Tears Apart the Propaganda Driving the Insane Push for War With Iran

There are similarities in the run up to the Iraq war, but there is also a key difference -- this time, the driving force for the push for war with Iran isn't Washington.

Iran is diplomatically isolated, has a weak and antiquated military relative to Israel and the United States, and its economy is being squeezed hard by international sanctions. The consensus among both American and Israeli intelligence agencies is that an attack on the country would be disastrous, and might lead to a regional nuclear arms race.

But that view seems to have a limited impact on the mainstream discourse surrounding Iran. Last week, Glenn Greenwald, writing on  Salon, noted that for months, “Americans have been subjected to this continuous, coordinated, repetitive messaging from israeli officials, amplified through the US media.”

This is generally how the establishment American media conducts the debate over whether to attack Iran: here are Israeli officials explaining why an attack is urgent and why the US must conduct it. Now here are American officials explaining why an attack can wait a little while longer but that it will happen if necessary to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Greenwald appeared on this week's AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the push for war with Iran. The transcript of his interview has been lightly edited for print.

Joshua Holland: Are we seeing the same kind of run-up to war with Iran as we saw in 2003 during the lead-up to our attack on Iraq?

Glenn Greenwald: There are obvious similarities. The claims basically are the same. The principal claim in the lead-up to the war in Iraq was that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically nuclear weapons. This was the claim that probably made the most number of people willing to support it. That is the same claim being made about Iran -- that they are too developing nuclear weapons, even though American intelligence agencies and virtually everybody else, including Israeli intelligence, says there is no evidence that Iran has actually decided to build a nuclear weapon.

It’s their nuclear program that is causing the concern. I think the core similarity is that we are talking about a nation that hasn’t attacked any other nation and that isn’t threatening to attack any other nation. So it’s not a preemptive war; it’s actually a preventative war. That's what the Iraq war was, and the Iran war would be.

I think the big difference though is that the run-up to the attack on Iraq was really driven by the US government. The Bush administration conceived this war, decided they wanted to do it, and then pushed for it, whereas I think the Obama administration is clearly pretty reluctant about involving itself in a war with Iran, and is instead being led by Israel and various neo-conservative factions in the US to push the US government into this war. That’s a pretty big difference. The US government is not in the lead in disseminating this; in beating the war drum.

JH: Now just to establish a baseline of reality, Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the IAEA has suspended its right to process uranium, but only pending certain inquiries that they have. There are unsettled issues. Can you unpack the status today?

GG: It is true that Iran is a signatory to the NPT, and one of the core provisions of that treaty that induced so many non-nuclear power states to sign on was that they have the absolute right to develop nuclear programs for energy and civilian purposes. Part of the obligation of the treaty members is that they subject themselves to inspections by the IAEA to make sure that whatever nuclear research they have is not being geared toward weapons development.

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