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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Iran's Stance

Zaman, a Turkish news outlet, is reporting that Yadullah Cawani, the "Political Bureau Chief of the Iran Revolution Guard" is openly claiming that:

Iran was capable of striking any target within Israel, and that their rockets were therefore a deterrent to any military action by the US, or Israel, against Iran.

Yadullah Cawani, the Political Bureau Chief of the Iran Revolution Guard, who spoke yesterday with the Iran Students New Agency said, "All the Zionist lands, including the nuclear bases and arsenals, are within range of our advanced rockets." Considering Iran's capabilities added Cawani, someone would have to be stupid and furious to attack Iran. In response to news that "American and Israel war planes could strike Iran's nuclear installations," Tehran announced the successful test of an advanced model of their medium range Sahab-3 rocket last week...

...A high-ranking Israeli officer, who evaluated Tehran's last statement, said, " Such statements made by Iran legitimize Israel's development of a rocket defense system against missiles like the Arrow-2."

In 1981, Israel successfully attacked the Osirak Nuclear Reactor in Iraq. Yet, in the case of Iran, many diplomats and defense specialist said that an air attack on Iran's nuclear program would be insubstantial since they are underground. That, coupled with Iran's assured response, is a deterrent to Israeli military action in Iran. Iran has not admitted Israel's right of existence since the 1979 revolution.

Perhaps a confrontation between Iran and Israel was inevitable, but circumstances in the region being what they are now, after Bush's invasion of Iraq, the likelihood is seeming greater every day. Will the offensive in Najaf become the flashpoint to set events into active motion? We'll see, but there is some evidence of Iranian involvement in Sadr's uprising. There's no denying the ratcheting up of rhetoric on everyone's side, to say nothing of the growing rage amongst the Shia community worldwide. Or will the ultimate tipping point be Israel's encouragement of the Kurds to declare an independent Kurdistan, or an attempt by Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, as has been threatened? Perhaps some combination of the above and more?

At the very least, the world will be confronted with two (covertly) nuclear powers engaged in an arms race inside a tight geographic region, a la India and Pakistan but fueled by thousands of years of religious conflict as opposed to simply territorial dispute.

American propelled events in Iraq have provided even more fertile ground for all of the above, in a part of the world where there's no need for any added motivation, on anyone's part. As I've said before, the ramifications of Bush's folly will be affecting the wider world for many years to come, perhaps generations.

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