Against the wishes of Europe, Israel and the United States, Iran’s leaders have decided to resume their nuclear weapons program.
What’s the Big Rush?
For some reason, the Iranians are in a great big hurry to develop nuclear weapons—or start a war with the United States and/or Israel. Or perhaps both in one sequence or another.
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Yes, the sanctions are hurting Iran economically, but the Iranian economy has been underwater for decades. Besides, even with the Trump administration backing out of the Iranian nuclear deal signed under Barack Obama and applying new trade sanctions against Iran, the Europeans have been going around the sanctions to trade with the Iranians. Their view is that by helping Iran economically, it would lose interest in enriching uranium.
However, with the Iranians resuming their enrichment efforts, the Europeans are forced with a stark choice: trade with Iran or trade with the United States. That choice is clear. European companies are fleeing Iran, adding to the endemic economic misery of its people.
What, precisely, does the Iranian leadership hope to achieve with this move?
In Dictatorships, Power Trumps Economics
It’s certainly against Iran’s economic interests to violate the uranium enrichment threshold of the agreement, but so what? Power trumps economics. National financial benefits are of secondary importance to dictatorships. Dictatorships exist to benefit the dictators and their cohorts, not the people beneath their boot heels.
This simple maxim has been proven time and time again the past century, from the Soviet Union to Cuba, from Communist China to North Korea and various other tin pot dictatorships around the world. And yet, the West, especially the left, continues to think that money can divorce dictators from their nature and dissuade them from aggression. But in fact, it does just opposite. Barack Obama’s illegal transfer of hundreds of millions in pallets of bribe money to the Iranians to accept the 2015 agreement proved that point once again.
Did the Iranians use the money for economic development? Of course not. It was used to fund more terrorism and proxy wars Israel in Syria and Gaza and against Saudi Arabia via Yemen.
Who Is Iran Afraid Of?
What’s the rationale for Iran to resume its provocative nuclear weapons program? Do they fear being attacked by the United States? Probably not. Even at the height of the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq, no U.S. invasion of Iran occurred. In fact, the U.S. removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq eliminated Iran’s biggest regional threat.
Are they afraid of an unprovoked ground assault by Israel? Not likely. Israel doesn’t have that capacity and geography also points against such a scenario. What’s more, Israel simply has no desire to go to war with Iran or anybody else. Their history of working with Islamic states such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia among others, demonstrates this.
What about Saudi Arabia?
Iran is backing the Yemeni Houthi war against United States and Israel-ally Saudi Arabia. Does Iran expect the Saudis to retaliate by striking Iran? Again, not likely. Sunni Saudi Arabia fears Iran and its radical Shiite brand of Islam. The last thing they want to do is enrage Shiite passions in the region.
Oppressors Fear the Oppressed
No, the greatest fear of the Iranian leadership is their fellow Iranians. As is usually the case, it’s the young, rebellious generation posing the greatest threat to authority. It’s no different in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The people are fed up with living in the 7th century.
What’s more, the threat against the Islamic-fascist regime is not only real, it encompasses workers, women, and people from all parts of Iranian society. In 2018, Iran was rocked by a major nationwide uprising against the ruling class. Social tensions remain high in light of the police brutality against women who refuse to wear the veil. And the movement against the regime is growing.
The Dictators’ Guide to Economic Ruin
Again, as is typical amongst dictators of every stripe, the Iranian leadership knows that it can’t deliver bread or jobs to the country. Especially under heavy economic sanctions preventing Iranian oil from being sold on the open market. Iran’s economy production is cratering and inflation runs at around 40 percent.
Nor, with the exception of its nuclear sector, can it boast of Iranian industry outperforming others, of for that matter, performing at all. Dictatorship can only survive on corruption, which means stealing the wealth from productive sectors to pay for support. Unfortunately, it eventually tends to bankrupt formerly healthy enterprises.
Furthermore, America is now the top oil producer in the world keeping oil prices low. This poses a long-term threat against the Iranian economy. And as Israeli oil production ramps up, global supplies will rise, further suppressing prices.
What’s an Islamic dictatorship to do?
War on the Horizon?
What’s left to placate the angry masses and remain in power? Why, a war, of course. A war against “the two greatest enemies” of Iran: The United States and Israel.
This looks to be their plan. Iranian state media has produced videos simulating an attack on Israel with matching rhetoric from Iranian military leaders. It’s a war they’ve been talking about for 40 years.
If that fails, resume enriching uranium in order to become a nuclear-armed power. An “Iranium Revolution” would most certainly do the trick and bring about a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has stated publicly that Israel will not allow Iran to develop or have nuclear weapons. President Trump has said the same.
The question is, if Iran continues down its current path, how big of a war will it invite upon itself? Who else will come to the party? Taking out Iran’s underground nuclear projects will take more than a few bombings. It will require a significant commitment of military assets, even ground troops, to do so.
Will this happen? It’s looking more likely today than it did yesterday. But we’re not there yet.
Is there a silver lining? Yes, the Iranian people prevent an unnecessary war by removing the bad actors in their own country.
James Gorrie is a writer based in Texas. He is the author of “The China Crisis.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.