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Opinion

Readers React: The choice: Start World War III, or support the Iran nuclear deal

To the editor: John Bolton’s rush to a radioactive World War III was not palatable even to George W. Bush, the man who took us to war in Iraq and appointed Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. (“The consequences of a bad deal with Iran,” op-ed, July 26)

Neither the International Atomic Energy Agency nor the Central Intelligence Agency has found evidence that Iran has developed nuclear weapons.

In contrast to Israel, widely assumed to be a nuclear state, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which sanctions the development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

To suggest that either Israel or the U.S. could surgically strike Iran’s scattered nuclear facilities is to ignore the fact that such strikes could plunge Iran and the entire Middle East into a fiery hell that would dwarf the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Rather than plot world demise, Bolton would be well advised to support the Obama administration’s agreement for inspections and verification and let the American people begin a dialogue with Iran’s next generation of leaders. Sixty percent of Iran’s 75 million people are under the age of 30. Bolton is yesterday’s news; Iran’s youth are tomorrow’s hope.

Marcy Winograd, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Bolton put it clearly when he stated, “To stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, military action is inescapable.” Not being part of this bad deal, Israel may find itself in a quagmire, possibly having to save the world from a nuclear Iran with a preemptive strike when things start to heat up.

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Let’s hope that the United States will give its full support and blessings when the fruits of this failed deal are evident.

Cynthia Silvers, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Bolton argues that an Israeli military strike could be the solution to the risks from Iran’s nuclear program and points to its successful attacks on nuclear plants in Syria and Iraq. However, his history needs amending. It was the United States, not Israel, that destroyed Iraq’s nuclear ambitions.

Israel’s 1981 strike on the Osirak reactor stimulated Saddam Hussein to build a large covert enrichment program. By 1991, the effort was nearing fruition. It was only the U.S.-led coalition’s defeat of the Iraqi army with ground forces in the Persian Gulf War that allowed the U.S. to dictate the insertion of international inspectors to eliminate the nuclear contraband, which the inspectors did within a few years.

Lesson: No Israeli air attack can eliminate the nuclear program of an Iran that is far more nuclear capable than either Iraq or Syria ever were. Rather, the deal the Obama administration negotiated offers the best hope.

Bennett Ramberg, Los Angeles

The writer served as a policy analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.

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To the editor: Bolton writes that “American weakness has brought us to this difficult moment.”

On the contrary, the decision of the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany to work constructively with Iran is only one of many consequences of the disastrous military action against Iraq initiated by Bolton’s colleagues in 2003. That initiative demonstrated to the world the folly of the application of Western force in the Middle East and the need to address political issues with political solutions.

Bolton’s misplacement of blame only adds to the emptiness all too common in much of our public forum today.

Eric R. Carey, Arlington, Va.

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