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The Iran Threat

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    The Iran Threat By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=115652;title=APFN In 2001, 83% of the Pakistanis
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 25, 2007
      The Iran Threat
      By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

      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 Iran[iii]. 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. North
      Korea was able to acquire enriched uranium with mundane centrifuges
      and other technologies to constitute the critical mass needed for a
      low-yield "dirty" bomb (Meshkati[iv]).

      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

      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 and China 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 late
      1997[vii]. They have also halted all vocational training of Iranian
      students in fields that may have applications for nuclear weapons and

      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?

      Ideology - 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 nationalized Iran's 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 dollar. Iran
      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 Israel. 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 America. 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 why Iran 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 Çýraðan Palace was Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure
      Binyamin Ben-Eliezer together with a delegation of top Israeli oil

      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, Iran 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?

      Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich 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 and Iran's
      nuclear program.

      [i] http://www.yespakistan.com/afghancrisis/gallup_survey.asp



      [iv] Meshkati, Najmedin and Guive Mirferendeski. "North Korean Nuclear
      Brinkmanship: The Demise of the NPT Regime of the Failure of the U.S.
      Unilateralism?" Iran News 18 Jan. 2003

      [v] Mark Hibbs, "US in 1983 stopped IAEA from helping Iran make UF6",
      Nuclear Fuel, 4 August 2003

      [vi] Monshipouri, Mahmood, "Iran's 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. Nye, Ibid

      [x] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/cdoilmou.html
      [xi] http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=278572




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