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The Persian Version

Denis Leary once suggested Iran and Iraq be combined into a country called Irate. Not a bad idea given the news out of both Shia-dominant cynosures for misbehavior. But after the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, there's no doubting … Read More

By / June 13, 2007

Denis Leary once suggested Iran and Iraq be combined into a country called Irate. Not a bad idea given the news out of both Shia-dominant cynosures for misbehavior. But after the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, there's no doubting which one constitutes an "imminent" threat to the Middle East–and no, by that we don't just mean Israel. 

We've focused a lot of editorial attention on what to do about the Islamic Republic's mad dash toward nuclearization. No one, with the possible exception of Justin Raimondo, considers such a prospect with equanimity, and yet our writers have been passionately divided over the subject of a preemptive strike on Iran's (known) uranium enrichment facilities. Contributors have also offered comical and grave alternatives for how to engage the would-be American pen pal Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in one of our most popular "Letters" series.

With the U.S. presidential election looming, and a change in Israeli leadership all but certain in the coming months, what to do about Iran has justifiably preoccupied Jewcy as much as it has the rest of international media. Here's the bulk of our coverage so far. (Want more? Check out everything attached to our "Iran" tag.)

Should We Bomb Iran?

Bomb Iran Now Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post thinks the U.S and Israel should take swift, immediate action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran is No Threat To America Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com argues that Israel can do whatever it wants, but this isn’t a fight for America.

And they’re off: Read the rest of the dialog starting here, then check out Noah Pollack’s response.

Letters to Ahmadinejad

Last fall, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote an open letter to the American people. We asked some Americans to respond.

Novelist Edward Schwartzchild: “These days, I make my living as a writer and an English professor, and because of that (and maybe also because I’m old-fashioned and naïve), I believe that personal letters should be answered. Even difficult, infuriating, deliberately misleading letters like yours.”

Experimental poet Dan Byrd:There was something elegant and funny about our doom in Dr. Strangelove. Now we have garbled sentimentality, self-deception, and rank baloney. Your letter and perhaps all of your possible letters and all of my possible responses belong to an impossible history. During the Cold War, both sides were grandly wrong. Now our wrongness is muddled and sad. The world is unthinkable.”

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism: “You insult the American people by alleging that our government is controlled by Zionists. But your nation is held hostage by Palestinian Arabs who despise Iranians, and who hold Shias in deep contempt.”

Writer Fiona Maazel: “For the sake of getting a handle on just what sort of virtues we three—you, me, the president—have wrought for the propitiation of God, and with a mind to learning from our travails, herewith a table. I hate to impose a Western conceit on your processing of the material, but I still suggest you read from left to right.”

Political Scientist Paul Gottfried: “Personally, I doubt we have anything to gain from a dialogue with you. Better that we bomb your nuclear facilities to dust, provided this is not part of a war to force American civics lessons upon your society.”

Gay Jewish intellectual David Shneer: “Mahmoud, my eyes teared up because I discovered something as I stared at that Torah and Koran and listened to the sounds of our Hannukah party. I realized that the life being celebrated in that house illuminated the darkness that so many leaders have brought into the world. I'm sorry to say in such a personal letter, Mahmoud, that I count you among those leaders. Your anger and hate for everything I am and do brings darkness to my world.”

Former presidential comedy writer Mark Katz: “To answer your question: Yes, we here in the states are still talking about the decisive mid-term elections. They certainly had it coming—those far-right incompetents emboldened by their direct line to God certainly got their asses handed to them by an angry electorate. By the way, how did your recent mid-term elections turn out? You forgot to mention it in your letter.”

Novelist Julie Orringer:You mention the ‘perfect human’ who’ll arrive to lead us all. The idea of a perfect human isn’t a new one, and it’s not restricted to religion; the Nazis, too, imagined a perfect human, or a race of perfect humans. My Hungarian Jewish family didn’t qualify.

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