Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Iran and Biological Warfare

Biological warfare research laboratories are presently being operated throughout the international communities. Pinpointing Iran as a culprit, while ignoring the ever burgeoning biological warfare infrastructure being created worldwide, is not a useful or appropriate perspective. In fact, pointing a finger solely at Iran will only promote and justify more biological warfare research by encouraging fear.

This does not mean, however, that we should ignore the problem.

We currently are in an international biological arms race. It is a threat to everyone and every country. Our ability to create sophisticated and dangerous infectious agents that could debilitate or kill millions is a fact and a realistic danger.

The challenge we face is that infectious genetically engineered agents used for research to help humanity can unfortunately alternatively be used and developed as biological warfare agents as well. "Defense" laboratories, "animal disease" laboratories and "embryonic stem cell" laboratories are presently engaged in dangerous biological research in academic, private and government laboratories all around the world. As of today, no effective regulations or oversight governing these dangerous biological laboratories are in place in the United States. Self-regulation is the practicing model where secrecy and privacy supersede biotech worker’s rights and public health and safety rights. Laboratories can “appear” to be doing legitimate research when in fact they could be also engaging in biological warfare manufacturing and research. This can happen as easily in the United States as it can Iran, as it can in Europe, Australia, Russia, India and China.

We desperately need international laws and international treaties governing this type of research and denouncing biological warfare. For the sake of humanity, we need to stop the biological arms race on all fronts, and not just in Iran. We need leaders and peacemakers to step up to the plate and start addressing this problem now.

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