Or to phrase it as another SAT analogy: Israel is to Iran as Norway is to Japan.
I just wrote a post last week, largely about Japan’s illegal whaling, in which I pointed out the absurdity of Japan having voluntarily signed an anti-whaling treaty they had no intention of following and opened up themselves to international criticism, while Norway, who simply never signed the treaty, is perfectly content carrying out their own whaling activities.
For the other half of the analogy, look at this quote from the other day’s NYT:
The resolution was passed after the United States agreed late Friday to a clause indirectly criticizing Israel’s secret nuclear weapons status. Initially Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had rejected any compromise, arguing that Iran would use the clause for propaganda purposes to criticize Israel, which unlike Iran is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and suffers no consequences as a nuclear power, diplomats in Vienna and American officials said.
Of course the real reason that Israel can get away with having nuclear weapons and Iran can’t is not because of the treaty, but because the USA and Europe are willing to tolerate Israel’s possession of such weapons, but it does raise the question of why Iran bothered to sign the treaty in the first place. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of countries that signed up for treaties that they then turned around and violated without a second thought, but I found this parallel particularly apt, despite the vast difference in scale of importance.
Maybe people would still be protesting Japan’s whaling activities even if they hadn’t entered into the treaty, and Iran would definitely still be under diplomatic pressure to curtail their nuclear research, but why in both cases did they only make it easier for their opponents by breaking rules that they never had to agree to be bound by in the first place?