How many times in the last 2 decades have you heard about this threat of Iran getting closer to making a nuclear bomb? We all keep hearing that they are so close, sometimes only a couple of months away and sometimes a couple of years; it all depends who tells the story.
And if they acquire a bomb what will happen?
Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth and western civilization will be in danger of destruction, but why?
Because some mad, bloodthirsty Mullahs are in office in Tehran; they are the enemy of western civilization and they hate us all. Thus they must be getting ready to destroy the world, like Stalin did, and like Mao Zedong the bloodthirsty tyrant in China had plans to do, or like Kim IL Song and Kim Ill Jung in North Korea or even Castro and Saddam who all had weapons of mass destruction and were planning to destroy the world. As you have heard in the past, they were all real threats to the world’s security and more specifically to our national security in America.
Do we really think that America or the world as a whole, including Iraq, is now safer without Saddam or without Gadhafi? Will it really be a safer place without the Islamic republic of Iran?
We should ask the Iraqis this question! They have nearly 8 years of experience now.
I am sure not everyone in Libya feels safer on the streets of Benghazi and Tripoli today, especially not the women and girls. I feel confident in saying that if a war were to occur to such an extent as to remove the Iranian regime, the aftershocks of such and the chaos in the streets of Tehran would resemble the same scenes that we have seen in Baghdad since the start of this bloody invasion years ago. It may have taken only 21 days to overthrow Saddam’s regime from March 19 to April 9, 2003, but after 8 years, people are still suffering from everyday killings and a lack of basic human services such as clean water, electricity, health care, and even food. The fear of daily explosions, assassinations, murders, and ransoms has crippled the Iraqi people and it seems as though it will not be going away anytime soon.
According to the Bush administration the reason for the invasion was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam’s support for terrorism and to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people.” Yet, after 8 years of war there are more than one million Iraqis dead, 5500 young Americans who have lost their lives in service, and many thousands injured, but there were no weapons of mass destruction found. The invasion made Iraq a paradise for terrorist groups, including Al Qaida, to justify their reasons for fighting with America and the West, recruiting hundreds of Iraqis and other nationals to their cells in the region. The 2003 invasion not only weakened the terrorism but it caused a flux of terrorism in the entire region, which almost every nation in the region is still suffering from.
I strongly believe that a controlled dictatorship has always been easier to negotiate with from the outside and can be less painfully removed by its own people than a foreign invasion. The last 2 decades have been the best testament to this; in the Soviet Union, the most powerful of all totalitarian states in the current history with thousands of nuclear bombs and an army of a million soldiers, the dictatorship collapsed without any bloodshed or war. Eastern European socialist countries present the best example of losing power to a people desirous of change without a foreign invasion and with minimum damage to their country’s infrastructure and human life.
I am sure no one thinks the Iranian regime is more stable or powerful than the regimes in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, South Korea, South Africa, Indonesia, or those in South America such as Chile under Pinochet or Argentina under the generals.
Once again we are facing the same dilemma, but this time the Iranians are the ones who are willing to destroy the world, plot the assassination of government authorities and drop the bomb that would catalyze a nuclear holocaust.
The efforts of the Iranian authorities in the Islamic Republic on the policy of nuclear advancement and their alleged efforts to achieve nuclear weapons for the last 2 decades has been both costly and a serious risk to Iranian national security. Thus, it has been, and still is, a good excuse for certain military powers in the world to justify an invasion of this country, my mother land.
Charging Iran with acquiring nuclear weaponry and alleging the potential use of this deadly weaponry in the future has become a major factor in causing tension in the region, especially in Iranian Israeli relations. But as Israelis have been successful in the last 2 decades in framing Iran as a global danger, it has become a serious, and even costly, political tension between Iran and the entire Western hemisphere.
It is the responsibility of all peace loving, democratic forces inside and outside of Iran to struggle and fight with the current government to stop any related research on the advancement of any and all military nuclear projects.
But this risk should not be used as a pretext to justify Israeli policies of aggression and their allies in looking for a pretext for military aggression and the destruction of our country.
If we even consider the risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is a fact that the peaceful pro-democratic parties in the world need to focus on and pay much attention to, we should also understand that the Iranian people should not be paying the penalty for it with hundreds of billions of dollars of their wealth or sacrificing their own children due to a possible war which has been planned by Israel and its supporters in Europe and the United States and in the region.
The war, despite what some may claim, will not only bring democracy to Iran and peace and security to the region but will cause insecurity and increase the threat to peace and democratic advancement at the price of billions of dollars of contracts in favor of a military industrial complex.
Certainly, bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities will not result in either an overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran or the establishment of democracy in the country.
The most probable result will be the devastation and destruction of the country and its population. It will cause pollution in the environment for future generations and militarize the political atmosphere. It will suppress any dissent amongst the populous, and possibly even prolong the life of the Islamic conservatives in power.
That’s why some conservatives in the top tiers of the Iranian military welcome the invasion.
Unfortunately, some opposing factions, who beat the war drum and welcome the military aggression and bombardment of Iranian nuclear facilities, are unaware of the unpredictable consequences of these actions which can cause the partial destruction of the country and the annihilation of thousands of innocent people.
The destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are located at several different locations across the country and have, in some cases, been built deep underground, is not possible with the use of conventional weapons alone. The weapons needed to destroy such an underground facility are the kind which would require having high concentrations of depleted uranium in order to penetrate the concrete containments of these facilities. This would cause high levels of radioactive pollution in the region and its impacts in the short and long term would be an environmental disaster for the sites and the surrounding areas. Current and future generations will pay a high price, which in some cases may be irreparable.
Dealing with Iranian authorities to put a stop to the building of lethal nuclear weapons must be approached from different facets. Iran, certainly without the help of other countries, including Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, Japan, some European powers, and maybe some U.S. companies would not be able to accomplish this goal.
So instead of encouraging and promoting the war with its frightening consequences, we should turn to public opinion for support. We should be putting pressure on the countries, companies and interested parties who have been cooperating with Iran in helping them to advance their uranium enrichment project.
The risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, despite Israeli propaganda and the provocation of their close allies is not an immediate threat. However, the threat of a military invasion and the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities is much more imminent and could be turned into a full scale war with unpredictable consequences. In addition, the threat of a preemptive strike and the fear, insecurity and uncertainty it creates gives Iranian war mongers a good excuse to expedite their bomb making project, which was said to have been stopped in 2003 by multiple official reports.
According to Mr. Brzezinski in his interview with America’s national radio network NPR years ago; “Iranians live in a very dangerous part of the world, four of their immediate neighbors have nuclear weapons, they have some anxiety too”
Yet, the constant Israeli threats to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities and power plants, and the bombing of Iraqi nuclear facilities in the 80’s by Israel poses a serious threat that the Iranian regime cannot disregard.
Israel’s concerns regarding Iran seeking nuclear weaponry are simply about the fear of another nuclear power paralleling their presence in the region. Other countries with nuclear technology also reflect the same sentiments.
Generally, countries attempt to acquire nuclear weapons when there is a threat or they have a sense of insecurity. Should they be assured that there is no threat to them or their sovereignty from any foreign entities, especially with a nuclear weapon, there would be no need for their own nuclear armament as a deterrent.
But we have to keep in mind that the peaceful use of nuclear technology, like any other field of science, cannot simply be banned in any one nation, seeing as there is no ban or limit among other nations especially among those who have not yet signed the NPT.
Regarding a nation as unfit to possess a particular technology for peaceful purposes is an obvious expression of national discrimination in the sciences which could be unjustly extended to include other fields in the future, as well.
The Iranian people should not have to pay the price for Israel’s bellicosity; their desire to maintain a monopoly on nuclear technology should not come at the cost of depriving and possibly destroying Iranian nuclear facilities and their technological and industrial infrastructure.
Instead of simply condemning the authorities of the Islamic regime in Tehran, the Iranian democratic opposition should do their best to control this crisis instead of encouraging the war mongers in Israel and the west. They should cooperate with all democratic and peaceful coalitions in the world to prevent a war from happening and ask for the destruction and disarmament of all kinds of nuclear weaponry in the region, as well as all over the world.
It’s our responsibility to closely work with international peace movements to put pressure not only on countries like Iran to stop developing weapons of deadly force, but to demand that those countries which already have hundreds and thousands of nuclear warheads to destroy them.
We can all live in a more secure world without the production of lethal weapons; we don’t need the nuclear security umbrella and devastating threat of an arms race to feel safe.
The international community and its members should respect the international law and UN resolutions as the only international body with a higher authority. While there is still no better alternative available, no military pact like NATO or any other group of countries should be consider a better decision making authority than the UN.
Impacts of a potential war on Iran’s democratic movement
Considering the impacts, I am not much concerned with the opposition in exile because the war would have no impact on their lives. Looking within the country, though, is an entirely different story; many of the members of the opposition are in jail, many are under house arrest, and many are under surveillance and constant watch, they have all already been accused of supporting western countries and acting as foreign agents. A war on Iranian soil would put them in a difficult position:
First of all, as we all know, most of the opposition in Iran has been and still is seriously against any form or shape of invasion on their country. Not only is it because they live near there or would suffer like any other Iranian from the bombardment and explosions of bombs and missiles, but mostly because of the change in the political environment due to war, which closes all outlets to speak out.
Second, their lives would be in danger; Iranian leaders killed many of the opposition group members in the first decade of the revolution during the Iran Iraq war. The worst mass killings happened in summer of 1989 when the Mujahidin came hand in hand with the Iraqi soldiers, equipped with Iraqi tanks, machine guns and artillery power, to invade Iran, which gave the Iranian leadership an excuse to kill prisoners all over the country. I am sure not everyone was in favor of that heinous act, but not many dared oppose it. Only the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri had the courage to stand up in the face of the most charismatic and popular leader of the Islamic regime and strongly oppose this criminal act.
Others were too scared of being branded as supporters of foreign agents, and of being prosecuted. They could have lost their jobs and livelihood, but more importantly, they were not in favor of any kind of invasion or war against their mother land. Therefore, they kept their mouths shut and said nothing. That could happen again.
Under invasion or in the midst of war, opposition groups will usually act much more cautiously. Patriotism, as expressed in all other countries during times of war, is used to isolate and suppress the rival groups and oppositions.
As it worked during the Bush administration to shut up many congressmen and women in the United States, it will work in Iran to shut the mouths of many who oppose the government. The immediate result of which would be for the hardliners in Iran to advance their policies.
The Iranian democratic opposition in Iran, especially the leadership of the green movement, will be the only loser in the event of war. Opposing it will only place them in the shadow of the conservatives and hardline war mongers in military circles. Supporting the war would be a death sentence, while remaining silent will be translated as political inability.
In times of war, the government, as the only savior and sole provider, for the people will mobilize support through a socio-military vehicle which can also function to crush their opposition.
Seeing as some opposition figures in exile have shown interest in welcoming and encouraging military intervention, I would like to emphasize that we are not in a position to make decisions on behalf of the people of Iran. We cannot encourage NATO bombings with the excuse of humanitarian intervention. We should respect their maturity and trust their ability to choose their own path to change. They have proven in the past three decades that they know how to create opportunities for uprisings against the administration and how to best use the existing possibilities to weaken the government. The Green movement is the best example of this desire for change in its ability to bring millions of people into the streets of Tehran and cause an extremely costly political crisis for Iranian leadership exposing the major cracks in their political system.
This is their decision. Making a change is in their hands, and all we can hope to do is support them in their endeavors. They don’t need our leadership to extend across the ocean, just a helping hand.
Abed Tavancheh a young Iranian political activist who has been prosecuted and imprisoned many times in recent years had this to say about the situation:
You live in Washington DC and from each side of your location you are safely distanced from here by an ocean and a couple of continents – please keep your opinion to yourself about me and people like me who live in Iran, and kindly do not add any more fuel to the fire of foreign invasion. That is all.”
He continues; “I want to live – and if I am to die for something, I wish to die voluntarily and for my own ideals,….. I wish to know for what and for who I am dying”.
Abbas Abdi a close advisor on Karobi’s camp recently said in an interview:
“It is a baseless argument to say that opposing the war means supporting and strengthening the position of the government in Iran. If so then one should not oppose the war,” he said, “there is no doubt that we are unhappy under the current administration but that does not justify by any means the interlocking of foreign military invasion and domestic political debates”.
He concludes his interview with “We oppose any military attack under any circumstances.”
President Khatami as a highly respected reformist leader in Iran also said that any military strike will only unite the Reformists and non-Reformist groups within the country.
In closing, I would like to say that as an Iranian and a proud American citizen I am against this war because I will be the big loser, no matter who wins.
Bombing Iran may kill my brother, my cousins, and my family and will ruin all my memories. The neighborhood where I was born, the school I attended to learn how to read and write, and the rummage of my mother’s grave, I fear, will all be destroyed by the bombs. Fighting with the Iranian regime may cause my Californian neighbors’ sons and daughters to return from the frontlines dead or permanently disabled, or cause my only beloved son, if he should decide to join the American army, to return in a plastic bag.
Reza Fani Yazdi is a political analyst and activist. He is one of the founders and an active member of the Unity for a Secular and Republic for Iran, Etehaade Jomhourikhahan Iran, a political organization in exile.