Op-Ed: Iran's "Wipe Israel Off the Map" Calls are Diversionary
The agreement does not cover what the West does not know about the Iranian nuclear program.
One of the major anxieties concerning the Iranian nuclear program is the Israeli angle. Iran’s repeated calls for the destruction of Israel and its Zionist population gave rise to a strong suspicion that its “peaceful” nuclear project is aimed at producing nuclear bombs, the first and foremost target of which is Israel.
Although this suspicion should not be ruled out, it is my opinion that Iran has other designs involving a blend of religious hostility combined with ambitions for economic hegemony and political super powers.
It is no secret that Sunni/Shiites hatred among Muslims is as fierce as Arabs’ hostility towards Israel. The civil wars in Syria and in Iraq are sectarian in nature where Sunnis and Shiites kill innocent civilians of the other Islamic sect. Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are historic adversaries; their rivalry intensified following the Iranian revolution in 1979, replacing the secular Shah with an Islamic fundamentalist, Ayatollah Khomeini and his gangs of religious extremists.
The new Iran, controlled by Ayatollah Khamenei, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and their would be successors is much more extreme and exceedingly aggressive in pursuing its ambitious goal involving dominance over the oil-rich, Persian Gulf region.
Iran’s strategy comprises three phases, at the end of which it would be in control of 28% of the world oil supply. Iran would be able to set prices, blackmail, dominate and influence world politics, impose its will and brand of religion on a significant part of the world. And its leaders would become the ruling Caliphs of the latest Islamic Caliphate.
The first phase of this grand design has already been embarked on. Parts of the western coast of the Persian Gulf is dominated by Sunni leaders ruling over a Shiite majority in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, or a large Shiite minority in the UAE, (which has started cleansing their territory by deporting Shiite residents for no apparent reason other than sectarian). Iran has been using their Shiite brothers in fomenting unrest, engaging in insurgency and undermining authority in these territories and beyond. Eventually this Shiite population would facilitate an uprising intended to overthrow of the existing government and replace it with an Iranian proxy.
The second phase would comprise the fabrication of a nuclear weapon. It would be used as the main tool for bullying Iran’s neighbors and imposing Iran’s hegemony over the Persian Gulf and its oil rich resources. Iran would try to call the shots concerning OPEC’s strategy with regard to prices and quotas; it would use its nuclear clout to bully its neighbors and dominate the economic discussion and its conclusions.
Once Iran encounters resistance it would defer to the third phase—a full invasion of Saudi’s oil-rich Eastern coast, evoking memories of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. This time, however, Iran would feel shielded due to its possession of a nuclear deterrent in addition to local backing of the majority Shiite population in the occupied areas.
Iran’s calls for “Wiping Israel off the Map” are an attempt to cover up their grander design. By focusing on Israel, Iran is trying to sedate its neighbors, have them support or, as a minimum, trim down their criticism and opposition to its nuclear ambitions.
Saudi Arabia has been anxious ahead of the signing ceremony in Geneva, calling for a slowdown in Iran’s progress on the road to a nuclear bomb in lieu of relaxation of some sanctions. Nevertheless, the Saudis have seemed to have succumbed to the agreement’s conclusions. They seem eager to believe that the interim agreement struck in Geneva brought about a pause in the Iranian action, and that the P5+1 interpretation of what the agreement entailed was the proper understanding of what would take place on the ground for the next six months before a final agreement, which would effect a reversal and a full cessation of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Not so. The Iranians deception and cover up of their real intent has been effective. Iran is intent on pursuing their agenda as outlined above. They already interpret the Geneva agreement differently from the P5+1. They continue to claim - in contradiction to the P5+1’s understanding - that the agreement they have signed acknowledges their right to continue enriching Uranium to the 3.5% level.
Like a diver running out for air before passing out under water, the sanctions relief obtained by Iran in return for minor, mostly cosmetic, concessions on their nuclear program, felt to them like a lifesaving lungful of fresh air. It let the Iranians break their rapid dash on the road to an economic catastrophe.
It gave them time to reload and continue to foment unrest, engage in insurgency, undermine authority in Saudi, Bahrain, in Eastern Arabia, Yemen, and continue to commit terrorist acts around the world. What’s more, the agreement did not address Iran’s buildup of an aggressive military capacity including ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear war heads.
The agreement does not cover what the West does not know about the Iranian nuclear program. Even if new information may be forthcoming due to closer inspection by the IAEA, this new information will only be dealt with during the next phase of negotiations, but that new phase will find the Iranians less flexible since some of the sanctions pressure has been lifted and the economic pressure that drew them to the table in the first place has been alleviated.
The universal consensus among most intelligence agencies is that the present Iranian enrichment capacity—even after dishing out the stockpile of the existing 20% enriched uranium and exclusive of additional centrifuges—is capable of attaining a nuclear breakout in less than two months. This time window is shorter than the time it would take to revive the sanctions. And in general, there is a considerable lag between sanctions imposition and their associated impact due to the fact that the Iranians, like most other nations, maintain reserves of economic resources.
The best (and maybe the only) way to undermine the Iranian design of domination over the oil-rich Persian Gulf is to facilitate a regime change in that country. A choking economic pressure, considerably more severe than the present level of sanctions, could have yielded that goal. The nuclear question helped in unifying the world against Iran, but the unspoken (regime change) true goal should have been even more compelling. It should have guided the US and the EU in their pursuit of a better world.
Unfortunately, the politically correct west (they could not go in for a regime-change agenda in the open) and their misreading of the Iranian’s true intentions led to a bad agreement. It relieved pressure at the wrong time; it saved the Ayatollah and his militant IRGC from a potential implosion. It let Iran continue to carry out its grand scheme. And it failed to realize the monumental mistake they have made in letting the present Iranian regime off the hook