The Iran Threat
By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
11/30/07 "ICH" --- -- In 2001, 83% of the Pakistanis supported the Taliban[i].
Six years later, in a 2007 World Public Opinion poll[ii],
84% of the Pakistanis thought attacks on civilians for the purpose of reaching
a political goal was justified. Given that there are radicals who
support terrorism with the possibility of gaining access to nuclear bombs in a
country that is currently under emergency rule, common sense demands that world
leaders turn their attention to Pakistan.
Yet, inexplicably, the United States continues to hand out aid to its
‘ally’ Pakistan while quietly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the
British island of Diego Garcia in preparation for a military assault against
What motivates the United
States to take such paradoxical action?
America and Israel
have accused Iran of
intending to diversify its program – they allege that Iran is using
its civilian program as a cover to build nuclear bombs. This supposition
begs the question why Iran
would place itself in the spotlight instead of renouncing the energy program
for history has shown that having an operating nuclear power reactor is no
longer a prerequisite or even a necessary condition of obtaining fissile
material which can be used for the development of nuclear materials. South Africa
was able to develop five nuclear bombs without having a nuclear energy program.
was able to acquire enriched uranium with mundane centrifuges and other
technologies to constitute the critical mass needed for a low-yield “dirty”
Iran has also been accused of pursuing its nuclear program in
‘secret’, further ‘proof’ of its alleged intentions to divert its nuclear
program into a bomb making one. Contrary to these allegations, the new Iranian
government decided to continue its nuclear energy projects to meet the surging
needs of the growing population and to compensate for the immense damage caused
to the infrastructure of the country during the war with Iraq. In
1982 Iranian officials announced that they planned to build a reactor powered
by their own uranium at the Isfahan
nuclear technology centre. In 1983, the IAEA reported that they were
ready to “contribute to the formation of local expertise and manpower needed to
sustain an ambitious program in the field of nuclear power reactor technology
and fuel cycle technology”. Under pressure from the United States,
their cooperation was terminated[v].
Tehran openly negotiated with several nations (unsuccessfully
under pressure from Washington) until finally
it struck a deal with Moscow.
This met with former President Clinton’s ‘duel-containment’ policy.
Executive Order 12957 given by Clinton
specifically banned any "contract for the financing of the development of
petroleum resources located in Iran."
In addition, President Yeltsin had assured Washington that Iran
would not be able to make weapons-grade plutonium and that he had canceled the
"military components" of two nuclear reactors bound for Iran. Under U.S. pressure, both Ukraine
had made some adjustments. Ukraine,
announced that it would not supply turbines for a Russian reactor project at Bushehr. China
suspended the sale of a plant for the conversion of uranium hexafluoride, which
is required for making fuel rods[vi].
In 1997, Russian officials expelled
Iranians studying nuclear physics and missile science from Russian schools in
They have also halted all vocational training of Iranian students in fields
that may have applications for nuclear weapons and missiles.
America had long said –and it continues to say today, that its
single biggest concern is for Iran
to have the knowledge which could lead to making the bomb. So why did it
not stop its confrontational path?
Regrettably, the history of the Middle East
shows that secular resistance to foreign exploitation has been crushed by
imperial powers. Mossadeq, a fierce
nationalist, who was democratically elected to be prime minister of Iran, was removed by a CIA-backed coup when he
oil. Likewise, Egypt’s
leader, Nasser, a secular and fiercely nationalist leader, was called ‘Hitler
on the Nile’ for wishing to control the Suez canal. Six months before the French
and the British invaded Egypt
in 1956, Britain had drawn
up secret plans to cut off the flow of the River Nile to try to force Nasser to
give up the Suez Canal[viii].
Islam, it would seem, has proven itself capable of
challenging the world’s superpower. And it was not with its effects
on the region. Saudi Arabia
felt unsettled with events in Iran
and the lack of support the Shah seemed to have received from the U.S. “The
Saudis undoubtedly felt considerable annoyance at the United States
for doing too little to prevent the Shah’s fall and too much to promote Sadat’s
peace initiative”. For this reason, at the onset of the Iranian
revolution, the Saudis dropped their production by 1 million barrels per day,
playing havoc on oil markets at a most crucial time (Deese
and Nye 68)[ix].
Although Saudi Arabia later
picked up Iran’s slack, Washington was not prepared to have Saudi Arabia follow Iran’s suite. Nor was Washington accustomed to
having an Arab nation ‘threaten’ its oil supply.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
was the pretext Washington
needed to make its move. The ‘Carter Doctrine’ was nothing short of
putting American soldiers in harms way to protect the free flow of oil. In
subsequent years this doctrine took on other forms such as the Gulf War, and
War on Terror and democratization. But putting the life of American
soldiers in harms way for the sake of oil required a noble cause – the public
have always been led to believe that wars have been necessary to defeat ‘evil’.
Money: The root of all Evil - In 1960s, an agreement was struck with OPEC to price oil
in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. In essence,
the dollar was now backed with oil instead of gold. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich
kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of
invasion or domestic coup. The arrangement gave the dollar artificial
strength. Deviation from this by any OPEC member would impact the
announced its intentions to convert to Euros in 1999.
Other economic factors include a renewable 15-year
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. and Israel
signed in September 1975, in which the United
States Government has undertaken to promptly make oil available for purchase by
If Israel is unable to
secure the necessary means to transport such oil to Israel,
the United States Government will make every effort to help Israel secure
the necessary means of transport[x].
The 1979 overthrow of the Shah created added expense and
inconvenience for Israel and
The Shah supplied all Israel's
oil needs via a pipeline from Eilat. After the
revolution, the clergy put a stop to this and Israel
was forced to buy more expensive oil – footed by the U.S. In the 1980’s,
Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Joseph Paritzky
was considering the possibility of reopening the long-defunct oil pipeline from
Mosul to the Mediterranean port of Haifa in northern Israel. Syria, acceded to
a request from Iran to block
the flow of Iraqi oil to the Mediterranean
(The flow of oil from Mosul was redirected from Haifa to Syria after the
British Mandate for Palestine expired in 1948).[xi]
The plan was postponed.
The ‘war on terror’
presented yet another opportunity, but Washington's
game plan seems to have been stymied by Iraq's
Shiite majority which is a close ally of Iran’s. This explains
is cast as a threat and the endless efforts of the mainstream media delivering
news to every living room of deaths caused by ‘Iranian-backed Shiite
militias’. This is the evil that must be overcome in order for
democracy to prevail, and this is why American soldiers are dying.
Where there is oil,
there is Plan ‘B’ - Upon taking office,
George W. Bush. commissioned the Bakers Institute (Rice University)
and the Council on Foreign Relations to study the energy trends and
requirements of the 21st century. The comprehensive 99-page report
favored the Iranian route for the Caspian oil exports which would serve several
purposes. In itself, it would translate into a policy shift towards Tehran, and throw Iran
as a counter weight to Iraq.
The transport of oil through Iran
versus the prohibitively expensive longer and costly Baku-Ceyhan
pipeline would be of great benefit to the West, and the world, and help build
up the drastically low global spare capacity, according to the report.
Another strong contention of the report was that the U.S. ought to move the Caspian region into a
zone of cooperation with Russia
instead of a zone of competition and confrontation, enabling future cooperation
such as jointly countering Islamic militants in the region (Strategic Energy
Policy Challenges for the 21st Century, 2001, pp. 38-40,45,)[ii]. Of note,
the Kazakh officials had been in favor of the Iran
route, as well as the U.S.
oil companies such as Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and Conoco[iii].
In September 2001, A.Nesdat Pamir of the Jerusalem
based think-tank IASPS, challenged the
commission report with a strategy paper called “Turkey: The Key
to Caspian Oil and Gas”. He argued that “ given that the
price of oil have allowed states to invest heavily in Weapons of Mass
Destruction (WMD), the primary external of this development, both economically
and diplomatically, has been Russia”[iv]. Russia, therefore, is arming the Middle East with WMD and the 80% oil potential should be
rescued. According to him, the lifeline of America would be for it to use the prohibitively
expensive Ceyhan –Baku Pipeline [through Turkey and Israel]
in order to avoid the anti-American Middle East .
Given that the mainstream media does not serve the public,
it comes at no surprise that a day after the Israeli assault on Lebanon last
summer the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku
(BTC) oil pipeline took place[xii].
Noted among the guests at the inauguration reception in Istanbul,
hosted which was by Turkey's
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer at Çýrađan
Palace was Israel's
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
together with a delegation of top Israeli oil officials.
America and Israel insist on reject the report card from
the IAEA the UN watchdog chief has been told that he must be ‘sacked’ for not
understanding Iran’s ‘intentions’. One must have a clear understanding
that Iran’s nuclear
ambitions do not pose a threat, however, due to isolation,
has become a self-reliant nation and has escaped self-colonization. Iran is
politically aware, and technologically advanced. She is keen to pursue
her civilian nuclear technology, not as a violation or as a threat to world
order, but as her inalienable right under international law and in response to
the current and future needs of the Iranian people.
No doubt the perceived threat from Iran will diminish
should Tehran yield to Washington, generously delivers its oil to Israel to
better enable it to continue its expansionist policies, and participate in
human rights abuses in the name of freedom and democracy vs. state sovereignty.
But even if the regime in Tehran
succumbs, will the people who have accomplished
so much under such extraordinary circumstances, surrender?
has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, Australia
and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International
Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
and she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Middle
East Studies concentrating in Political Science. She has done
extensive research on US
foreign policy towards Iran
[iv] Meshkati, Najmedin and Guive Mirferendeski. “North
Korean Nuclear Brinkmanship: The Demise of the NPT Regime of the Failure of the
News 18 Jan. 2003
[v] Mark Hibbs, “US in 1983
stopped IAEA from helping Iran
make UF6", Nuclear Fuel, 4 August 2003
Search For the New Pragmatism”. Middle East Policy. 6.2 (1998) p.95-113
[vii] Iran Times, August 22, 1997
[ix] Deese, David A. and Joseph S.