A significant clash between Iran and the US is becoming more imminent every day. In most cases antagonists share responsibility for dangerous standoffs. In this situation Iran is the principal culprit, while the US is merely striving to keep the world safe. It’s useful to examine the objectives of Iran and the US and why tensions are escalating.
Iran is imperialistic and overtly intrusive in its region. It’s the most powerful Shiite country and justifies its aggressive behavior on religion. Zealots that rule the country frequently misinterpret their holy scriptures. For years cruel, antisocial and militaristic actions have been undertaken in “defense” of the Shiite perspective.
It all began when Shiites separated from Sunnis. The violence in the Middle East has been spurred by the hatred that fomented over centuries between these religious sects. The current predicament arose when the Shah of Iran was ousted in 1979 and Iranian clerics took control of the government. The coup culminated when the US Embassy in Tehran was overrun and 66 Americans were taken hostage. The situation lasted 444 days and ended when the newly inaugurated president Ronald Reagan released $8 billion of frozen Iranian assets. Reagan also promised sever repercussions if the hostages were not freed immediately.
Since then the relationship between the US and Iran has deteriorated as Iran has frequently supported terrorist groups in the region that resisted American involvement in the area, especially US support of Israel.
Notwithstanding all this, the primary objective of Iran has been to expand the influence of Shiites at the expense of Sunnis. When all is said and done, this is the most important issue for the ayatollahs.
One of the ways to accomplish this goal is to create unrest in Sunni strongholds, in particular Saudi Arabia, which is the most powerful Sunni country. Additionally it is the wealthiest nation in the region. To be clear the Saudis have also supported efforts to destabilize Shiite controlled areas.
Iran has spent huge amounts of money building a large and supposedly imposing military force, which often times is unleashed across the Middle East to further the causes of Shiites. Syria is a primary example of Iranian efforts to destabilize the region. With Russia, Iran has supported the corrupt and evil regime of Bashar al Assad.
The only way for Iran to build military credibility, in its mind, is with a nuclear arsenal. And so Iran began to develop/buy the technology to enrich uranium as a first step in assembling a nuclear weapon.
From the outset the US has had a policy to never allow Iran to develop a nuke. The reasons for this are clear as a bell. Iranian leadership is driven by religious zealotry that could encourage the ayatollahs to employ a nuke at a stressful moment against Israel or a Sunni adversary. Moreover, Iran, with a weapon of mass destruction in its possession, would use its military might to threaten other Middle East countries.
The Obama administration appreciated the ramifications of an Iranian nuke and attempted to delay its development. Disregarding the long-term policy that Iran would “never” have a nuclear capability, Obama and his negotiators essentially delayed Iran’s nuclear program for a decade or so.
The Trump administration recognized this terrible diplomatic blunder (many say the Iran nuclear deal was signed to afford Obama a “legacy” achievement). Donald Trump was unmoved by Obama’s faux diplomatic ploy and abrogated the agreement.
What are the reasons why Iran should never have a nuclear weapon?
- Iran, in a fit of religious paranoia or passion, might employ a nuke in the Middle East.
- Iran has never given the global community any reasons to think it would responsibly use a nuclear capability.
- Iran has publicly said it wants to obliterate the State of Israel. The quickest way to do so is with a nuke.
- The threat of mutual destruction may not be effective when dealing with religious zealots.
- Iran will use its nuclear power to harass and threaten Sunni regimes.
- Iran cannot be trusted and will likely violate the provisions of any treaty.
Trump has voided the Iran nuclear deal and ramped up economic sanctions to force it to renegotiate. Iran is resisting and is now enriching uranium, which is mostly forbidden by the original deal. Other signatories that include Europeans want to reinstate the Obama deal because they have economic arrangements with Iran, a shortsighted perspective.
Iran has begun a program of relatively minor attacks on oil fields and oil tankers. It has encouraged increased terror activity in the region. In the meantime, the Iranian regime is under great economic stress that could destabilize the government.
Trump should promise to retaliate in kind against any Iranian aggression. And he needs to have a grander military plan in case of future escalations of military action.
Iran should never have a nuke. It would be a replay of the North Korean fiasco, in which a small time megalomaniac is threatening peaceful countries with a nuclear strike. So far Trump has played the right cards. Backing down would be a drastic mistake.