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Iran, Israel and nuclear arms

August 10, 2009

Re "Stop Iran now," Opinion, Aug. 6

Dore Gold is right about one thing: Iran should not acquire nuclear weapons. His support for military action against Iran is misguided -- when has violence led to sustainable peace in the Middle East? But what his article really lacks is an acknowledgment of the herd of elephants in the room: Israel's own arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Thursday and Sunday marked the 64th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more than 220,000 people. If we can learn anything from these catastrophic events, it is that no country should possess weapons that can indiscriminately kill hundreds of thousands of people or more in an instant.

A nuclear-free world can only be achieved through active, honest diplomacy by visionary leaders who do not cling to the false security of nuclear weapons.

Rick Wayman

Santa Barbara

The writer is director of programs for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

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Gold is right. When it comes to a nuclear Iran, time is not on our side. Talking to foreign leaders is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's best weapon. He talks and stretches time, and all along he is in the process of building something ominous that will change the power structure in the Middle East and will give the "axis of evil" tremendous sway over the rest of the world.

Gold is right about Israel. A nuclear-armed Iran is not about Israel only, but about every single Arab country in the area and the Arabs who live in Israel. Of all of these countries, Israel is the only one that can strike back. This should put the Arabs and Israel on the same side, and it is too bad that it hasn't.

President Obama talks about peace in the area while leaving the biggest threat to it -- the possibility of a nuclear Iran -- alive and simmering.

Batya Dagan

Los Angeles

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Re "A darker shadow over Iran," Editorial, Aug. 4

The Times is correct that the tyrannical Iranian regime will not accept Obama's invitation to negotiate regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program. Thus, it is clear that Obama, the Europeans and all other responsible parties must pressure Iran's mullahs to give up their quest for nukes by employing stringent sanctions.

Not only might sanctions convince the mullahs that nuclear weapons are just too costly, but sanctions against the Iranian regime would demonstrate support for Iran's brave protesters who yearn for a decent government and basic freedoms that we Americans enjoy.

The bottom line is that if the religious zealots who rule Iran can treat their own people in such brutal fashion, it is sheer folly to believe that they will use their nuclear capability for peaceful purposes only.

Josh Baker

Bloomfield, Mich.

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