Atomic Islamic Iran

Excerpt from an unfinished book on Iran’s public and secret nuclear programs from its beginings in 1963 to the present under the Islamic state. This is part of the introduction to the book, which may be useful for scholars and those searching for an answer to the question: Is the Islamic Republic of Iran attempting to produce a nuclear bomb?

To have or not to have nuclear weapons. This is the root of all arguments regarding Iran’s nuclear program. There is an argument among the people of the developing countries that while a number of countries have nuclear weapons, why should not the other countries have it?

From this point of view, the rationale of depriving the third world countries from the nuclear weapon is that the US and the other main world powers wish to still remain more powerful than the other countries to continue ruling the entire world. This point of view suggests that the industrial and developed countries want to keep the rest of the world in the state of backwardness.

There is also another argument mostly among the governments of the Moslem world including Iran, that while Israel, at the heart of the Islamic countries, has got atomic weapons, why should not its neighbours and the other Islamic countries possess the same weapon?

This argument continues, from the nationalism angle, among those Iranians who are not necessarily pro-Islamic government but are in favour of having nuclear weapons, with another question: while the American forces are behind Iranian borders (from the west in Iraq and from the east in Afghanistan) and one of the main US naval bases is located at the Persian Gulf, just behind Iran’s southern boarder, and these all mean Iran is surrounded by the US military forces, and moreover while regional countries such as Pakistan and India have nuclear bombs, why should not Iran have atomic weapons?

Although there are some truth in the above arguments, all of them can be reduced to one question: “why should not the ‘others’ have the weapon?”

No one among these people asks “why should anyone have the weapon?”

All these arguments lead us to a one-way road towards intensifying of the arms races. There is no doubt that the Middle East with an atomic Iran will be a scene of the arms races between the main countries of the region, such as Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey; the region in witch some countries have already attempted to obtain nuclear technology. All of them tend to have the atomic weapons in order to “protect themselves”.

After more than half a century, the world has not yet forgotten the catastrophic affections of the nuclear explosions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second world war with hundreds of thousands of civilians dead and hundreds of thousands more as the “bomb affected people” in Japan.

After those nuclear attacks, no other nuclear bomb attack has been occurred in the world but the nuclear powers have conducted at least 2,000 nuclear test explosions so far. Each year increasingly hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent to develop nuclear and other weapons of mass destructions throughout the world, and different countries spend billions of dollars to monitor each others nuclear programs.
If we are attempting to provide a peaceful international environment for our children, the first step is to build a nuclear weapon-free-world, and the first step to build a world free from nuclear weapons is to stop new nuclear weapons production and halt any suspicious attempts that provoke regional or world arms races.

Has Iran been going the opposite direction to produce nuclear weapons and join the world’s nuclear powers club? To get close to the answer, it should be noted:

1) The Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and those who “accuse” Iran of producing nuclear weapons are just “Zionists who attempt to scratch Islam and to deprive the Islamic Iran from scientific improvements.” According to the Iranian authorities the Islamic Iran has no interest in nuclear weapons.

More than two decades ago, on December 1982, before the first Pakistani nuclear weapon test occurred, Pakistani President, Gen. Zia-ol Haq said: “I would like to state once again that our ongoing nuclear program has an exclusively peaceful dimension and that Pakistan has neither the means nor, indeed, any desire to manufacture a nuclear device.” Also four years ahead of the test, the so-called Father of the Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, said “the ‘Islamic bomb’ is a figment of the Zionist mind.”

2) There are two routes to producing an atomic weapon: using either highly enriched uranium, or separated plutonium, and Iran has pursued every three routes! The country has been constructing light water reactors at Bushehr, south of Iran, and a heavy water plant and reactors at Arak, central Iran (the both type of reactors are able to discharge great quantities of plutonium), and has already installed thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium at Natanz, another town at central Iran.

The Natanz facility in full operation, could produce 500kg/year of weapon-grade uranium. The produced uranium would be enough to make about 25 bombs every year.

Moreover, during the last two decades, Iran has attempted to smuggle through nuclear warheads, nuclear bomb blueprints, and high nuclear technologies throughout the world. (Details coming in Chapter 2 of this book).

3) Iran threatens to follow the North Korean path if its nuclear case referred to the UN Security Council; i.e it will quit the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and goes through its nuclear path without the international inspections. N. Korea quit NPT on January 2003 and on April 2003 claimed that it had at least one nuclear bomb. North Korea has produced a number of atomic bomb during the last two years.

4) On September 2003 Iran put on show in a military parade its new Shahab-3 ballistic missiles draped with banners reading “We will crush America under our feet” and “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth”. The advanced Shahab3, has approximately 2,000 kilometres range and is able to carry the nuclear warheads. On October 2005 Iran’s President stated that Israel must be wiped off the world map. The distance between Iran and Israel is less than 1,800 kilometres.

5) The head of the UN nuclear watchdog Mohammad Al-Baradei, on February 2005 said that Iranians have already had the nuclear know-how, and “if they resume the fuel cycle, they should be able to get the fissile material within a year or two.”
In less than a year after Al-Baradei’s statement, Iran resumed some of the main activities of the fuel cycle. On August 2005, after more than two years of suspension of enrichment activities under a heavy international pressure, Iran resumed work at Isfahan uranium reprocessing plant. Less than five months later, on January 2006, Iran removed the UN watchdog seals from the country’s main enrichment facility at Natanz.

This is included in the ideology of the Islamic Iran’s regime to be equipped with the most modern military equipments not only to stand as a military power in front of its foes but also to enforce its leadership on the entire Islamic world. The “Export of Revolution”, as a main chapter of this regime’s ideology, for the first time was pronounced a few months after the revolution, in the mid 1979. The Shiite clerics had captured the political power at a single country and attempted to use this country as a base to spread their interpretation of Islam’s worldwide power.

After twenty seven years of establishing the Islamic Republic of Iran, It is still very difficult to find the conciliating words in the speeches of the Iranian regime’s current Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, nor you could find such words in the speeches of the first leader of the regime Ayatollah Khomeini. All instructions are to confront the enemies, such as: “strengthen yourself; we must resist in front of the satanic powers; the enemies will be defeated; the deceived people inside the country and the enemies of Islam in the west should know that …” and so on.

To have an enemy or enemies is in the nature of any ideological regime, and the Islamic regime of Iran is not an exception. These enemies inside of the “Islamic state boarders” one day are secularism and the seculars, another day are newspapers and its writers, a day after are women who do not care with the Islamic wear code, and so on. The regime confronts all these enemies and also all countries that “plot against Islam.”

The Iranian regime stands on the shoulders of the militants. Although there are officially twelve millions paramilitary forces called “Basijis” who are loyal to the Leader of the regime, it is difficult to say that all of them or even majority of them will defend the regime to the end. Iran’s official unemployment rate is about 13 percent, but economists estimate the real figure is more than 20 percent.

Basij was created as a mass voluntary force in 1979. The basijis functioned as the human waves at the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). Basij plays its role as the regime’s arm to suppress any opposition movement. It also monitors public morals in order to protect Islamic values at the society.

Basij administratively is a part of Sepah-e-Pasdaran, the post-revolution military force of Iran. From the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war, the ruling clerics who did not fully trust in the traditional army inherited from the time of the Shah of Iran, formed another military force, which is called Sepah-e-Pasdaran (the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps – IRGC). Sepah-e-Pasdaran was founded in May 1979 by a decree from Ayatollah Khomeini.

According to Article 150 of the Iranian Constitution, Sepah-e Pasdaran’s primary function is to protect the revolution and its achievements. Its commanders are appointed by the Leader of the regime from among the most loyal military officers. To understand the importance of the IRGC in Iran, it would be enough to know that from the beginning, all the defence Ministers have been selected among the commanders of this military force and not from the army. Moreover, all the ballistic missiles and the suspicious military nuclear projects in the country have been in the hands of the IRGC. It is said that the IRGC consists of about 120,000 armed men.

Since the regime needed to have every possible military experience and the skilled military personnel who were able to work with the new technologies, it did not dissolve the traditional army, but the main Islamic Iran’s military force has always been IRGC, as a pure ideological military force.

Although the IRGC commanders are not clerics, the corps function under the Leader’s decrees. According to the constitution, the Leader, who is a top cleric, (or in the absence of an eligible cleric may be a Council of Leadership consisting a number of top clerics) is the general commander of the military forces.

Not only in the military leadership but also in all political, social, and cultural aspects of the country those who say the last word are the clerics. Indeed, Islamic Republic of Iran as a theological state belongs to the clerics. In this circumstances those who are not clergy and work at the top level of the government offices and the state institutions are just servants of the clerics and mostly have to directly report to the top clerics.

Furthermore all the main government bodies should directly report to the Leader, there are the Leader’s official delegates who are clergy at all the administrative bodies, universities, military bases, all villages, cities and towns. The Leader’s delegates have their own offices and work as the supervisors and advisors of the state institutions and bodies. They report to the Leadership Office and get the necessary instructions and dictate them to the respective institutions and bodies to be implemented.

The country rulers believe that their Leader, who currently is Sayyed Ali Khamenei, is the God’s delegate on the earth. They believe that their Leader is not only the leader of the Islamic Iran, but he is the leader of the entire Islamic world, though they do not shout the idea very loudly because the majority of the Islamic world population are Sunnite and not Shiite, and the Sunnite do not understandably accept a Shiite leadership.

The Leader of the Islamic Iran is Valiyy-e-Faqih, who is not just supervisor or the government advisor – as the Iraq’s main Shiite seminary in Najaf considers – but he officially is considered in Iran as the highest authority of the world’s Shiites.

According to the Iranian interpretation of the Islamic government, which is fully formulated by Ayatollah Khomeini, Islamic government is Velayat-e-Faqih, the God-given authority for a top clergy to oversee secular in the absence of the Prophet Mohammad and infallible imams. From this point of view, Velayat-e-Faqih means direct intervention of religion in politics. Direct intervention of religion in politics is direct involvement of clerics in state ruling and executive affairs as their legitimate right and moral obligation.

Such a system not only involves all clerics in politics, but also put them on the top of the society as the conductors and instructors. The main conductor and instructor is the Leader, Valiyy-e-Faqih, who officially is the highest religious and political authority of the society (the world’s Shiites). In such a hierarchy, disobeying the Leader is disobeying the God and causes harsh punishments.

In their external policy, the Iranian authorities do not always rely on their religious sect (Shiite) and try to speak and perform on behalf of all Moslems throughout the world. In spite of the division between the main two sects of Islam, in some aspects there is a very close relationship between the two parts.

For example, although the Palestinian groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are not Shiites, they are benefited by Iranian oil money and are instructed by the Iranian regime and personally the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Khamenei. Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders officially go to Iran and officially meet the Iranian authorities. They need Iran’s money, and the Iranian Islamic regime uses its influence on them to battle the ‘Zionism’. Their victory could be the Iranian regime’s victory and their defeat is the Iranian regime’s fail in its regional policy.

The above example shows the ideological functions of the Iranian regime. It attempts to gain the control of any political movement at the Islamic world, and to push it towards its aims, that are based on the specific interpretation of Islam and are different from the other authorities of the Islamic world.

Based on this ideology, the enemies (or servants of the enemies), in general, are all who are not bounded with the regime’s interpretation of Islam. Of course, some of them in some periods are tactically friends. It should be noted that the ruling clerics in Iran are skilled tacticians with very high quality of pragmatism. Iran’s view point about Iraq, Afghanistan or even Pakistan is a good example: The Iranian regime calls their regimes as friends, although from the Iranian regime point of view they are the “American puppets”, the puppets of the “Great Satan”. All of these countries along with fifty four other countries sit together under the title of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

Iran, itself has periodically been the head of the Organisation and performed an active role there. The experiences during the last 27 years have shown us that the Iranian ruling clerics are well-qualified politicians and are able to play with other countries with several cards in their hands at the same time. Their cards are sponsoring the Islamic militia wherever it would be possible; the hidden nuclear technology achievements; the ballistic missiles productions; and oil. Any threats against Islamic regime will provoke its dependent militant groups around the world at least for a short term, and will affect the main supplying oil rout from Persian Gulf to the world.

Iran is a multi-national country. The three main minorities with their own languages and ethnic cultures, Kurds in the west, Baluchs in the east, and Arabs in the south and parts of the south-west, also Azeries in the north, north-west and some other parts of the country, are mostly mixed with the majority Pers (Fars). The country’s principal language is Persian (Farsi).

Iranians are very proud of their ancient civilization and one of the main and common Iranian characteristics is nationalism.

Fourteen centuries ago, Iran, as a non-Arab and a non-Moslem country, was invaded by the Arabs who intended to spread a new religion, Islam. The Arabs invasion changed Iran’s fate. During a long and hard resistance, the Iranian, who were mostly Zoroastrian, could save their languages and some important parts of their cultures, but not their own religion.

Although Iranian became Moslem, they mostly followed the twelve hereditary Imams and were called Shiites. There are three main countries at the entire Muslim world in those the majorities are Shiites; Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon.

Due to the events occurred in Iran’s contemporary history, Iranian nationalism mainly turned to protect the nation against the world superpowers, and due to the close relations of the Shah of Iran and the United States, the Iranian mixture of anti-Shah sentiments and nationalism turned against the USA. It is not a covered historical fact that the 1953 coup d’etat in Iran was sponsored by the United States.

“The government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq which was ousted in the coup was the last popular, democratically oriented government to hold office in Iran. The regime replacing it, was a dictatorship that suppressed all forms of popular political activity, producing tensions that contributed greatly to the 1978-1979 Iranian revolution” (The 1953 Coup D’etat in Iran, Mark J. Gasiorowski , Department of Political Science, Louisiana State University).

Ayatollah Khomeini had formulated the theory of Islamic government structure while he was in exile in Iraq (1964-1978) and wrote a book, Velayat-e-Faqih, that further was considered as a main source and theory on which the new rulers founded the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Although the people of Iran, soon after the revolution realised their historical mistake in supporting Ayatollah Khomeini to obtain bread and liberty, they were mobilized under the regime’s flag and slogans to defend the country when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980. Iranian nationalism, regardless of what government is in power, may again rise at the occasion of any other foreign military invasion.

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