The threat of nuclear power in Iran was just one of the major topics discussed last Wednesday when Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University spoke at the Leo Guthar Cultural Center Theater on Wednesday.
Dabashi said Iran should not be in control of nuclear weapons, yet he affirmed that because of their geographical location Iran has been influenced otherwise.
"Having another nuclear power in another volatile territory is not reassuring," he said. "Should Iran acquire nuclear powers? No. However they are surrounded by four major nuclear powers on all sides of them, the United States, Russia, Pakistan and Israel."
The temptation to acquire them, because of their power, was ever present, he said.
He also said that foreign influences in Iran and their surrounding allies are another reason why Iran would want to acquire nuclear weaponry. "As long as there is foreign interference [like the U.S.], you will have a hard time convincing Iran to back down."
When asked about Iraq and Iran and their involvements in the Sept. 11 attacks, Dabashi replied that "Iraq, Iran and even Afghanistan had nothing to do with Sept. 11," saying it was instead an act of individual terrorism.
He asserts that while Saddam Hussein was definitely not "God's gift to humanity," he was not working on developing weapons of mass destruction.
"You can't go into a country and start pointing fingers at people just because you think they might have attacked you," he said.
When asked about a possible solution for the WMD issue, Dabashi said there must be equal disarmament of all of the regions acquiring WMDs, and not just a few.
"Double standards absolutely do not work when it comes to the disarmament of nuclear power," he said.
As for a possible sanction agreement to help secure nuclear weapons, Dabashi said absolutely not. He added that sanctions do nothing to help the problem, and they always hurt the weakest part of a country, the women and children.
"No one ever talks about the four million Iraqis who are homeless; a good part of those Iraqis being children," Dabashi said.
Dabashi urged people to look at the other aspects of Iran, such as the non-violent groups that formed in the country to put pressure on their government to change. Three major non-violent groups have formed to put pressure on the Islamic Republic government to change and become more progressive. Those groups are "The Women's Rights Movement," "Students Rights Movement" and the "Worker's Labor Movement."
However hard these groups maybe fighting for change, Dabashi said the economy is making it hard for them to fight.
"When 85 percent of the economy is oil-based, which doesn't create jobs, it makes it hard for a working class to form and demand the rights and liberties that they deserve."