Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Iran's Race for Nuclear Weapons: "For the leadership in Tehran, the quest to acquire nuclear weapons has become a race. With the United States in inextricable situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington will have a difficult time using military power to prevent Tehran's pursuit of nuclear arms. With troop levels nearly exhausted, a military attack on Iran would have to rely mainly on airpower, which would not produce the desired results of completely eliminating Iran's nuclear program or altering the government structure in Tehran."

"Tehran's desire to develop and acquire nuclear weapons is based upon its deteriorating national security situation. Before October of 2001, when the United States began military action against Afghanistan, Iran had less to fear regarding its territorial integrity or the survival of its government. Afghanistan to the east was plagued by inner turmoil and did not pose much of a threat to Iran's eastern border. Iraq, to the west, was more of a concern, yet the U.N. enforced sanctions did much to keep Iraq in a state of perpetual weakness. The United Nations and the United States were intent on keeping the status quo in the Middle East."

"Tehran is racing to develop and acquire nuclear weapons before the United States has the military leverage again to effectively deal with Iran. But once the main Iranian reactor at Bushehr is loaded with nuclear fuel -- possibly in 2004 -- it will become much more costly for Washington to launch an air attack on that reactor as any attack on the reactor would risk nuclear fallout. But Washington may not have the military or political ability to attack Iran before then. Therefore, the wildcard to this festering conflict is Israel. Like Washington, the Israeli government does not want to lose foreign policy leverage in the Middle East. If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region would end."

"If in 2004 the Bushehr reactor is ready to be loaded with nuclear fuel, the United States may quietly encourage an Israeli attack on Iran. An Israeli attack would achieve Washington's objectives of weakening the Iranian government, but without putting U.S. military forces in jeopardy from Iranian retaliation. The State of Israel, however, will be at risk from possible Iranian retaliation with its Shahab-3 missiles. It is still unclear whether Israel will risk such retaliation in exchange for its desire to preserve its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East."

If the US/Israel fail to take out the Iranian regime before it goes nuclear, the Middle East hegemonic project faces a turning point, strategic defeat.

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