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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared at a ceremony in Tehran last week. His remarks on Israel stirred controversy.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared at a ceremony in Tehran last week. His remarks on Israel stirred controversy.Khamenei official website

Farah Stockman’s comparison of Israel’s presumed nuclear program with Iran’s puts the focus on the wrong facts (“Israel’s nuclear precedent,” Op-ed, Nov 19). The similarities between the two programs do not address the critical difference between them, which is intent. The distinction that matters, as the world well knows, is that Israel does not threaten to use nuclear weapons. Any such weapons that Israel has, like those possessed by the United States, France, and Britain, are for deterrence purposes only. Iran, by grim contrast, has stated that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Iran is a rogue state known to sponsor terrorism and military actions throughout the world, particularly against Israel, thus giving credibility to its threats. The Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not toned down this rhetoric. Just last week, calling Israel the “rabid dog” of the region, he said, “Zionist officials cannot be called humans. . . . .The Israeli regime is doomed to failure and annihilation.”

Iranian President Rouhani uses softer language, but has done nothing to suggest his intentions are any different. In a clear sign of how countries in the region view the threat of the two nuclear programs, Saudi Arabia has tacitly accepted Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons for years and is only now talking of pursuing its own nuclear capability in response to Iran’s actions.

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Susan Krieger
Jamaica Plain