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Iran: Delivering Armageddon
by Alan Caruba
12 March 2004

Iran may pose the greatest threat to the United States and the world so long as it continues under its present leadership.

While most of our attention is fixed on Iraq and the difficult process of instituting a democratic government there (and in Afghanistan), the news out of Iran is largely erroneous and does not focus on the fact that, along with Saudi Arabia, it is the leading supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world.

It is Iran that identifies the United States of America as “the Great Satan.”

It is Iran that has been systematically seeking to develop a nuclear arms program since the 1980s and lying about it. It is Iran that will not only be able to destroy an American city with a nuclear device, but it is also Iran’s leaders who are the most likely to do so.

The mainstream American press has not been well served by reporters for major news services who, for example, continue to refer to recent elections in Iran as having been between “reformers” and “conservatives,” as if to suggest that there is a real chance of reform in Iran. There hasn’t been any such opportunity since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power on February 1, 1979, after Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had fled the country.

The Islamic Revolution that began then is now twenty-five years old and Iran has long since sunk into the Dark Ages of the same Islamic Revolution that al Qaeda and other Islamic terror organizations would impose on the entire world. To look at Iran today is to see what the future would be if this violent revolution should ever succeed.

“The reality is our situation is like a nightmare,” said one prominent Iranian intellectual. The demographics of Iran are interesting. Two-thirds of Iranians are under 30. They are a generation of well-educated men and women. Fully 60 percent of university students are women. They can see the outside world via satellite television and have access to the Internet. They want good jobs and opportunities, but so long as the ayatollahs remain in control, they have few of either. A recent report on Iran by Borzou Daragahi notes, “The economy remains in the control of conservative clerics and their allies who seized businesses at the beginning of the revolution.”

Largely unknown or ignored by the mainstream press is the way the current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his unelected Guardian Council retains total control over all aspects of life in Iran. The so-called parliament of Iran is composed of only those people who have been approved for membership. The notion that President Mohammad Khatami favors reform is easily dismissed by ignoring what he says for public consumption and reviewing his record of doing nothing to open Iranian society to less oppression. There is, simply stated, no credible internal opposition to the dictators who run Iran.

Like all dictators, the Supreme Leader and his cohorts will not yield their power through elections and, controlling all the instruments of power in Iran, the people there have no means to initiate any change. Earlier efforts, mass marches in the streets, have given way to despair. Just as in Iraq, any change will likely require military intervention as the final option, if an internal revolt cannot be successful. This is the sad, inevitable truth about the Middle East and it is one that many Americans either don’t understand or might well oppose, given our current commitment along with its problems and costs. Neocons argue that whatever we spend toward these goals saves the US from far worse costs from attacks such as 9-11. I agree. As it was, 9-11 continues to have a negative impact on our economy.

The fact remains that without change Iran poses as great, if not the greatest threat to the United States and the world so long as it continues under the present leadership.

The record is there for anyone to examine. First came the 1979 taking of US diplomats as hostages for 444 days. This is unprecedented in modern history. Other American hostages were taken in Lebanon in the 1980s. Iran provides the funding for Hizbollah, the terrorist organization that has staged numerous terror bombings in Israel (along with Hamas, the Palestinian organization).  It was Iran that funded the truck bombing of 241 US Marines in Beirut on October 23, 1983.

Intelligence sources, according to a recent issue of Insight on the News, told that magazine that Iran “supplied the explosives” for the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Africa.

It was Iran that funded the attack in 1996 on the Khobar Towers barracks for US military personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that killed nineteen soldiers and injured 400 others. Former FBI Director, Louis Freeh, testified the attack was “planned, funded, and sponsored by the senior leadership of the government of Iran.”

It can and should be argued that we have been in a state of war with Iran since 1979. At the very least, it is obvious that Iran sees itself as being in a state of war with America. Just as we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq to eliminate the threat that fanatical Jihadists represented there, the need for regime change in Iran is ten times more essential because this is a nation with the will to destroy America.

No doubt the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency will, with US pressure, find their way to the United Nations Security Council and no doubt it will linger there just as the many resolutions regarding Iraq lingered until the US took action. No doubt, too, Europe and the IAEA bureaucracy will seek to delay that action.

As much as Americans find their role in transforming the Middle East distasteful and costly in terms of the lives spent and the billions required, it is the only realistic option. We have had one 9-11. That’s enough.

Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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