I have nothing but disdain for this woman and her promotion of the US neoconservative pro-war agenda. Iran has every reason to hate America. It was the Americans and the British that gave support to the overthrow of Musaddeq, for no other reason than that he wanted to ensure that Iran has sovereign control over its own oil. A brutal and self-serving shah was installed, who was then overthrown in favor of the current conservative islamist government. Iran never did anything to harm America. America did in fact attack the Iranians. And lets not forget the support America lended to Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war, that left many hundreds of thousands of people dead on both sides. Ayaan points to Iran trying to gain influence in the Middle East and counter American actions there, as though Iran had no legitimate reason to do so. And given America's history in attacking the Iranians both from within and via warfare, it is entirely understandable why Iran would want to bolster their military abilities, as well as their capacity to operate in a region where the majority of leaders of Arab countries are in the pockets of Washington.
The use of nuclear weapons as a deterrent is an established practice by many countries, and has been so for decades. Given America's aggressive stance towards the Middle East, Iran has as good a reason to seek it as any. However, Iranian scholars have repeatedly stated that it is not permissible under Islam to own or use such weapons, as they do not differentiate between civilian and military targets. UNSCOM has not confirmed that Iran has actually done anything to suggest they're on the way to producing nuclear weapons. Ayaan claims Ahmedinejad openly said he's seeking it. That's a lie. If she had an ounce of willingness to address issues as an unbiased, uninvested and rational scholar, she would point all this out. She hasn't and she wont.
My position is that nuclear weapons should be abolished altogether. There's nothing that needs doing that can't be done with conventional arms. Nothing justifies leveling entire cities or villages to dust, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians on the way. The US cannot ask any country to stop seeking the weapons it already posessed, unless it rids itself of them first.
Ahmedinejad is a nut job, I agree. No doubt about that. What Ayaan and her employer, the American Enterprise Institute would not have you know, though, is that he is as much disliked by his people in Iran as Bush is in America. He was elected in the first place because he promised economic reforms that would boost the struggling Iranian economy, and for that was supported by the lower and lower middle class people seeking economic change. They didn't know he'd turn into a wannabe Messiah. However, Iranians do protest his rhetoric, even the clerical elites do this. He was recently booed at a public university for his behavior. The man simply doesn't have as much influence as Ayaan would claim he had.
As for Ayaan's position that Islam is the enemy:
If you'd actually make an effort to meet Muslims around the world, you'd fine the caricature she draws of Muslims is false. Yes, there are extreme strains of Islam that have adopted violence as a means to subjugate and oppress people. That group of Muslims is the minority. There are also Muslims who have no such hatred of the West. Look at the Muslims in India or Bangladesh or Indonesia. Look up Doctor Muhammad Yunus (2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner) and his massive contributions towards alleviating poverty via microcredit, something westerners now copy and imitate in their own countries to alleviate poverty. To suggest Muslims collectively need to be woken up to modernity is an insult. Wahabism is a problem, but it is losing steam as we speak, as people recognize this desire to create chaos does nothing but worsen things on all sides. To suscribe to Ayaan's rhetoric that Muslims are stuck in the 10th century is to deny the contributions Muslims make every day in the sciences, in art, and in society.
There are many who would say more have died because of the extreme right wing of Christianity. How many are dead now in Iraq as a result of America's invasion? 800,000? A million? How many 9-11s is that? Why hasn't she considered the violence done by the side she stands by? As a Muslim, I've vocally condemned those who engage in acts of violence in the name of Islam. I blame Al Qeda for inciting the kinds of reactions that's lead to the ridiculing of Islam in western media, the same media many Muslims have protested for exibiting islamophobia. Can't we condemn the trouble makers on both sides? The worst of people in this conflict are those who are completely aware of the faults on one side, yet oblivious to those on their own. The Islamists are guilty of this. So is Ayaan, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Americans who support America's self-righteous crusade through the Middle East.