The Fabricated Threat of Iran

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Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili registers his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election at the interior ministry in Tehran on 11 May 2013. (Photo: AFP - Behrouz Mehri)

By: Johannes Hautaviita

Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Iran is Germany, and it’s 1938, except that this Nazi regime...wants to dominate the world, annihilate the Jews, but also annihilate America.

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

In the US and Israel, the so-called threat of Iran is depicted in the most apocalyptic terms. The discrepancy, however, between the hysteric mainstream Western discourse over Iran's ostensible nuclear weapons program and the findings of the rarely publicized authoritative reports by the Pentagon and US military intelligence, is telling.

The “threat” of Iran's nuclear program serves to garner support for strong actions against Tehran, be it political isolation or military attack.

Eric Hooglund, an academic authority on contemporary Iran writes that “[t]he US and Israeli public preoccupation with an imagined nuclear weapons program in Iran is a cover for Washington’s real political objective: regime change in Tehran.”

For decades, the US and its allies have tried to establish an undemocratic government in Iran that is favorable to their military and economic interests in the region. In 1953, the US and Great Britain overthrew the parliamentary government and installed a pro-US military dictatorship in Iran. In the revolution of 1979, Iranians toppled the dictatorship of the Shah. In the post-revolution era, the US and Israel have constantly been threatening Iran with a military strike.

US and Israeli leaders routinely present Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat to Israel and a major threat to the international community. According to Israeli President Shimon Peres, Iran is “more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option.”

The factual record, however, suggests otherwise. In February 2012, The New York Times reported that the consensus within the US intelligence community, which includes all 16 US intelligence agencies, is that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This conclusion is supported by Israeli intelligence.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh stated in late 2011, that “[t]hey [Joint Special Operations Command] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization [in Iran]. In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities for building a bomb. This is simply a fact.”

Contrary to widely reported claims, Iran has not breached its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The UN Security Council Resolution 1696, which calls on Iran to desist from all uranium enrichment, is not based on a failure by Iran to abide by the stipulations of the treaty. Thus, by passing Resolution 1696 the Security Council overturned the legal regime that governs nuclear non-proliferation. Iran is required to seize all uranium enrichment even though it is Iran’s right as a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty – similar demands are not presented to any other state.

Regardless of the inflammatory rhetoric that purports the contrary, these facts are well-known among the political and military decision-makers in the US and Israel. It is reasonable to assume that the purpose of the fabricated threat of Iran's nuclear program is to hide from the public Washington's and Tel Aviv's raison d'état, which is regime change in Tehran and to counter the real threats of “deterrence” and “destabilization.”

“Deterrence” and “Destabilization”

The former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami wrote in 2007 that “Iran is not pursuing nuclear capabilities in order to destroy Israel, but to gain prestige and influence in a hostile environment and as a shield for its challenge to the regional order.” This is indeed what is happening, and Ben-Ami’s conclusion is born out by the US Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) and Pentagon's annual reports on the military power of Iran for the US Congress.

According to the DIA, Iran’s security strategy is designed to “deter an attack on its territory” and to “defend against external threats, particularly from the US and Israel.”

In April 2012, the Pentagon released its “Annual Report on Military Power of Iran,” which further confirmed the DIA's conclusion. The Pentagon reaffirmed that “Iran's security strategy remains focused on deterring an attack.”

The primary fear in Washington and Tel Aviv isn’t Iran’s purported nuclear program, but its deterrence capacity, its capability to deter the US and Israel from exercising military force in the region.

In 2001, then-US defense minister Donald Rumsfeld warned of the fact that many countries are “intensely hostile to the US and are arming to deter us from bringing our conventional or nuclear power to bear in a regional crisis." (Italics added.)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak have acknowledged that – even if Iran would acquire nuclear weapons – it is unlikely to use them against Israel. Indeed, this would be suicide for Iran.

A reflection of the defensive nature of Iran’s military strategy is the fact that Iran's current regime has not waged a single war of aggression in its history.

Bonn International Center for Conversion released its annual Global Militarization Index in late 2012. While year after year Israel ranks as the most militarized country in the world, Iran is the least militarized country in the Near East, with the exceptions of Yemen and Qatar.

While the Iranian regime is engaging in a crackdown on democracy and human rights activists, it is not, however, a serious violator of international law by any comparison. Indeed, the claim of an Iranian military threat is pure fabrication.

Iran's foreign policy and influence on neighboring countries also constitutes another threat. According to the DIA, “Iran is seeking to increase its stature by countering US influence and expanding ties with regional actors while advocating Islamic solidarity.”

In the US, this is described as a major “threat to stability” in the Middle East, in the words of General David Petraeus, former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency. When the US illegally invades or threatens to attack countries all over the world, it's in turn typically described as stabilizing.

The US and Israeli Threat to Iran

In February 2013, the US Congress was presented with a resolution, which, if implemented, would make a military assault against Iran more feasible for Israel. The Graham-Menendez Resolution has strong support both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The resolution affirms that in the case of an Israeli military assault on Iran, the Unites States should “stand with Israel” and provide it with “diplomatic, military, and economic support.”

The military threats against Iran, which the former director of the Mossad Efraim Halevy has called both “credible” and “serious,” are illegal under international law. The UN Charter 2(4) bans the “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” (Italics added).

Besides the military threats, the US and its allies have sharply increased their military firepower aimed at Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Arab Sea. In July 2012, The New York Times reported

“significant military reinforcements” being deployed in the Persian Gulf in order to “increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates.”

In April 2013, the Obama administration announced an unprecedented $10 billion arms sale to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. According to a US senior administration official, the arms deal is designed to counter the “Iranian threat.”

A Peaceful Resolution?

On December 3, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Israel to “without further delay” open its nuclear facilities to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israel, alongside India, Pakistan, North Korea, and South Sudan, are the only countries in the world that have not signed the treaty. Israel is also the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East. The US voted against the resolution.

Johannes Hautaviita is an investigative journalist.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

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“They (Netanyahu & Co.) are certain that an Iranian bomb is existential threat, not because Iran will rush to fire missiles with nuclear warheads at us, but because an Iran equipped with doomsday weapons will further encourage elements that would provoke us without the fear of a massive response,” said Yaron London in an Op-Ed in daily YNet.

Great article.

People in the West like myself are well aware of how the US lies in order to maintain its power in the world. Iran is the most important country in the Middle East and it certainly is capable of having the best military in the region, one that is vastly more powerful than Israel.

One factor in Iran's favour is that the US is in decline and China's power is rising. Iran is already friendly with the most important country in the world - China.

One other point worth noting, the US has a weak military alliance, India is not an ally because the US was unsuccessful at starting a war between Pakistan and India some years ago. As the US continues its decline it will lose allies.

Great article, it clearly elucidates what is behind the so called "Iran problem". I wish the brazilian media would publish it, to inform the people what is really happening so we would fully support our government against any military attack and sanctions against Iran.

Cassio Sigaud
Petropolis, Brazil

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