Crying Wolf: The Fear of Iran

By: Michael D. Jacobsen
Staff writer at Fighting the Tyranny

Iran, a country whose name seems to be synonymous with terrorism. At least that is what the United States government wants its citizens to believe. Even before the events of 9/11 and, in fact since 1979 Iran has been considered a terrorist nation. But just how much of a threat is Iran to the United States?

Well, let us first look back to our first major involvement with Iran back in 1953. The CIA led a coup in Iran to overthrow the elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and to replace him with a reinstalled Shah Pahlavi. This coup was known as Operation Ajax. The reason for the coup was because the government of Iran wanted to audit the documents of the Anglo-Iranian oil company(AIOC) later called British Petroleum and to limit its control over Iranian oil reserves. When the AIOC refused to allow the audit, Iran moved to nationalize the oil industry, this led to the decision by the UK and the US to overthrow the government. Shortly after the coup, the United States began to provide Iran with nuclear reactors and highly enriched uranium. This was known as the Atoms for Peace program.

During the time from 1953 to 1979, the Shah attempted to “westernize” Iran. This made a lot of the citizens unhappy. In partial response to the unrest, the organization named SAVAK was formed with the help of the CIA and the Israeli Mossad, they became the secret police of the Iranian regime. They were known to torture or kill any opponents of the Shah. The number of victims of torture or those assassinated by SAVAK is unknown. But the estimates number in the tens of thousands to close to half a million.

The rule of the Shah ended in 1979, opposition forces galvanized by the declining health of the Shah took to the streets to demonstrate against his rule and the corruption that flourished. The Shah was exiled to Egypt and Ayatollah Khomeini took power over Iran. Soon afterward a large group of students overran the US embassy in Tehran and took more than 50 people hostage. This marked the start of declined relations between the United States and Iran.

The United States began sanctions in the form of asset freezing and a trade embargo shortly after the hostage crisis. These sanctions were eventually lifted but in 1987 they were reinstated and expanded in 1995 to include sanctions against any firm dealing with Iran. These sanctions took a deep toll on the lives of Iranian citizens and were imposed mainly because Israel was afraid that Iran was using its uranium enrichment program(originally created by the US), to create nuclear weapons to strike at Israel.

It is true that in the 1980’s Iran helped fund and train the Lebanese Hizballah, which until the United States arming and training of Al-Qaeda was considered the most capable terrorist group in the world. For this reason, Iran is considered the leading state sponsor of terrorism, although no direct ties between Iran and acts of terror can be found. It is assumed that Iran encouraged to have other groups commit acts of terror on their behalf,  but this cannot be proven.

This had led to many accusations that Iran is not only on the verge of having a nuclear weapon, but that they would use it to strike at Israel and possibly the United States. These accusations have been going on since 1992 and continue to this day. It is important to note that Iran still does not possess a functioning nuclear weapon. The following is a list of the times Iran has been accused of being on the brink of creating a nuclear weapon or creating a missile capable of delivering one.

  1. In 1992 Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announces that “Iran is the greatest threat in the Middle East” and they are set to have nuclear warheads by 1999.
  2. In 1995 then Israeli parliamentarian Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Iran will produce a nuclear weapon in 3 to 5 years and that the threat “had to be uprooted by an international front, headed by the US.
  3. In 1998 Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress that Iran could build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States within 5 years
  4. In 2002 the CIA issues warnings of nuclear-tipped missiles that could be launched from North Korea or Iran, and that Iran’s missile capability has grown more quickly in the last two years than was expected.
  5. Also in 2002 Israeli intelligence claims, they received evidence from the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) that Iran was building an underground uranium enrichment facility and a heavy water reactor
  6. In 2004 Secretary of State Colin Powell announcers that Iran has been working on technology to fit a nuclear warhead onto a missile
  7. In 2005 the United States releases 1,000 pages of documentation that they claim was retrieved from an Iranian laptop earlier that year. The pages detail that Iran conducted high explosive testing and that Iran had a nuclear-capable warhead.
  8. In 2011 a report by the Federation of American Scientists on Iran’s uranium enrichment claims that there is “no question” that Iran has the ability to produce a crude nuclear device.
  9. Also in 2011 retiring director from Israels Mossad spy agency Meir Dagan claims Iran will not be able to produce a nuclear weapon till 2015. He also warned that he felt attacking Iran would be a “stupid idea”.
  10. In 2015 Benjamin Netanyahu warned that allowing a deal with Iran to go through would not only result in Iran producing a nuclear weapon but many of them

As I am sure we can all tell, none of these dire predictions became true. During all of these predictions Israel kept calling for an invasion of Iran to eliminate this “threat”. Later in 2015, the United States did sign a deal with Iran. The deal was for Iran to reduce its stockpile of medium and low enriched uranium by 98% and two thirds respectively.  In addition, Iran was to allow IAEA access to its facilities within 8 days of being notified of an inspection. In return, Iran would have access to 100 billion if its international accounts that had been frozen, and once again it would be allowed to sell oil to the international market. Full details of the deal can be found here.

On May 10th 2018, the United States under President Donald Trump has rescinded this agreement, the reason being that before Iran signed the deal, they did not disclose nuclear programs prior to 2015. At no point did Iran violate the terms of the agreement. Currently, Israel and Iran are trading shots at each other in Syria, there are warnings again coming from Israel that Iran is again working on nuclear weapons. Is this a legitimate threat? Or or they once again crying wolf in an effort to keep people ready to invade Iran?

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