Muhammad Sahimi: Wish to be Poor and Unemployed? Support Military Attacks on Iran
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Salimi makes some interesting points about how an attack on Iran would threaten US economic and physical security. In the end, though, he makes the same argument that is heard time and time again: that there is no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons. In fact, the IAEA report (which I have only partly read) states that IRAN claims it is not developing nuclear weapons. It does not state that the IAEA agrees (or disagrees) with that claim. The report is a sensitive diplomatic document. They are unwilling to state anything that they cannot factually prove. A diplomat I know told me that any trained diplomat reading the IAEA report can tell that it does not categorically state that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Salimi also says that an attack on Iran would make the attack on Iraq look like "child's play":
But, if Iran is attacked by the U.S. and/or Israel, its response will make the Iraq war look like child's play. Why? Because Iran is very different from Iraq. As I stated in a 2006 op-ed that I co-wrote with the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Iranian nationalism, which has its roots in Iran's 4000 years of proud written history and many glorious contributions to humanity, is extremely strong.
Couple this nationalism to the Shi'ites 1300 years old tradition of martyrdom in defense of their homeland and religion. Add to it the belief of many commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Iran's elite military) that they should have been killed in the Iran/Iraq war and, therefore, have lived at least 20 years more than their "natural" life. That means that they will fearlessly fight back, if Iran is attacked. The result is a powerful and volatile mixture of proud nationalism and religion which, should Iran be attacked by the U.S. and/or Israel, will engulf the entire region in fire.
While I do not doubt the strength of Iranian nationalism, I think one could just as easily make the argument for Iranian (national, if not governmental) pragmatism and instinct for survival as for their fierceness. There is evidence of this as well.
That said, I don't doubt that an attack on Iran (especially one that goes horribly wrong) would engender a new wave of enemies against the US and Israel. I just wonder if those enemies would necessarily be Iranian.