Public Comment

Do We Really Want War with Iran?

Margot Smith, Dr.P.H.
Saturday January 11, 2020 - 12:48:00 PM

President Trump’s plan to increase US conflict with Iran and engage in nuclear war is outrageous. War with Iran would have unimaginable political and humanitarian consequences. It could not only lead to Iran’s devastation but result in nuclear fallout over many countries of the Middle East.

Iran has 14 nations on its borders. By land, Iran shares borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. Across the Persian and Oman Gulfs lie Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. And to the north, beyond the Caspian Sea are Russia and Kazakhstan.

All these countries could be affected by a nuclear event in Iran. The nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, Japan (1945), testing in Nevada (1951) and the Marshall Islands (1946–58), the accidents at Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) have shown us that nuclear emissions and fallout affect people living more than a thousand miles away. In the United States, people as far as Chicago, 3,000 miles away from the Nevada tests, were exposed to nuclear fallout. 

Nuclear bombs used today would have more serious consequences than those used in the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 or the Nevada tests of the 1950s. These bombs were much less powerful than those in today’s nuclear arsenals. 

A nuclear attack on Tehran, the capital of Iran, would not only result in nuclear emissions and fallout for the people of Iran, but expose the people of its 14 neighboring countries and the people of nations a thousand miles from Tehran—Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Cyprus, Georgia, Russia,Turkey and even China could also suffer nuclear exposure. Jordan, Oman and Israel are only about 950 miles from Tehran. 

Iranians are well aware of the consequences of war. In the 1980s Iran and Iraq were at war and its people experienced chemical warfare.. They still have hospitals housing those affected and permanently disabled. 

Although one may disagree with the politics of Iran, one must respect its people, history and culture. Iran has 21 Unesco World Historical Sites, including those in Tehran, Qom, Esfahan, Persepolis and Shiraz. Persepolis alone is impressive, founded in 518 BCE.  

The countries of the Middle East were relatively calm when President George Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, like the Monarch crying “Havoc!”, he unloosed the Dogs of War. He showed that any power may invade another at will without repercussions. And they did. In Syria, Ukraine, Sudan, Gaza, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan…and we have refugees seeking asylum everywhere as a result. 

It is critical that we Americans show that we value diplomacy over military might in dealing with others. Our leadership should seek to secure peace and end ongoing warfare. Before it is too late.