Christopher Hitchens makes the connection:
Long Live Democratic SeismologyChile survived its huge earthquake relatively well. Iran would be a different story.
Seismology in this decade is already emerging as the most important new department of socioeconomics and politics. The simple recognition that nature is master and that the crust of our planet is highly volatile has been thrown into some relief by the staggering 250,000 butcher’s bill exacted from the people of Haiti by a single terrestrial spasm, and by the relative survival capacity of Chileans even when hit by a quake of superior magnitude. Gone are the boring-headlined stories about the magnitude of the quake and the likely epicenter. The effects of upheavals of the earth can now be quite expertly studied, and even predicted, along a series of intersecting graphs that measure them against demography, income level, and—this is a prediction on my part—the vitality of democratic institutions.
And then there’s Iran,
This general point was specified in a dramatic way by a sentence buried in the middle of the Times article. “In Tehran, Iran’s capital, Dr. Bilham has calculated that one million people could die in a predicted quake similar in intensity to the one in Haiti.” (Italics added.) Tehran is built in “a nest of surrounding geologic faults,” and geologists there have long besought the government to consider moving the unprotected and crumbling capital, or at least some of its people, in anticipation of the inevitable disaster.
But the Iranian regime, as we know, has other priorities entirely, and it has worked very hard to insulate not its people from earthquakes, but itself from its people. I remember sitting in one of Tehran’s epic traffic snarls a few years ago and thinking, “What if a big one was to hit now?” This horrible thought was succeeded by two even more disturbing ones: What if the giant shudder came at night, when citizens were packed tightly into unregulated and code-free apartment buildings? And what would happen to the secret nuclear facilities, both under the ground and above it? I know what the mullahs would say—that the will of Allah was immutable. But what would the survivors think when they looked around the (possibly irradiated) ruins and saw how disposable their leaders had considered them to be?
This outcome would be incomparably worse than the consequences of any intervention to arrest the Iranian nuclear program.
Go read the rest to find out what Hitchens proposes.
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