Israel, US On Horns Of Shakespeare-Style Dilemma – OpEd


By Boris Pavlishchev

To bomb or not to bomb? The question is all about Iran’s nuclear facilities, where scientists are secretly working to obtain a nuclear weapon, according to a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency. With the document yet to be verified, Israel and the United States are considering a military operation against Iran which they realize may be fraught with serious political implications. The New York Post newspaper suggested on Tuesday that some highly placed Iranian officials could benefit from a possible military strike on their country.

Bombardments will not lead to regime change but will help strengthen positions of those religious radicals who support Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the New York Post. If a military strike on Iran will be launched, the Khamenei loyalists will use a plausible pretext to crack down on the opposition, the newspaper said, citing their slogans of uniting the nation in the face of an enemy threat. People’s unity, the New York Post went on to say, is certainly something that the Khamenei loyalists will especially need in the spring of 2012, when Iran will vote in parliamentary elections. The voting may well be followed by mass protests, the newspaper said, referring to the 2009 political unrest in the Islamic Republic,

In Moscow, analyst Vladimir Yevseyev says that hopes for a military strike helping destroy the opposition are nothing but wishful thinking.

“The current situation in Iran is stable, which is why any color revolution there is unlikely, Yevseyev says. I don’t think that official Tehran will draw the fire upon itself by trying to change the current status quo, he adds, pointing to the fact that most Iranians are nationalists who will hardly tolerate the presence of foreigners in their country. Unlike the country’s opposition leaders, ordinary people are up in arms against the presence of any foreign military man in Iran,” Yevseyev says.

Echoing him is Yevgeny Satanovsky, of the Moscow-based Institute for Middle East Studies.

“Speculations about the Khomenei loyalists allegedly managing to capitalize on a military strike on their country is little more than nonsense, like all that rubbish about Bush ostensibly being behind the 9/11 attacks,” Satanovsky says.

Voice of Russia experts, for their part, said that they share the New York Post’s suggestion that a restricted military operation may unite the society and boost the regime. Suffice it to mention positions of then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Naser in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, Colonel Gaddafi after the US bombing of Libya in 1986 and Saddam Hussein after a military operation against Kuwait in 1991. Drawing such parallels with Iran makes no sense because a military operation against the Islamic Republic is very unlikely to be staged, according to Vladimir Yevseyev.

“Iran poses no missile threat to anyone, Yevseyev says, adding that Israel and the US have yet to prepare for a military operation against Iran. It is safe to assume, therefore, that Israel’s launching a major military strike on Iran in the near future is unlikely, Yevseyev contends. With Tehran still mulling developing nuclear weapons, a possible military strike on Iran may finally prompt the country’s authorities to take the decision to make a nuclear device,” Yevseyev concludes.

The West claims that Iran is allegedly pursuing its nuclear-weapons program at the Parchin military base about 30 kilometers from the capital, Tehran – something that was vehemently rejected by Ali Bagheri-Kiyani of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

“The US claims that Iran is working on the development of nuclear weapons in Parchin, where relevant hydrodynamic tests are allegedly being conducted in special metal boxes, Ali Bagheri says. Earlier, we allowed IAEA inspectors into the Parchin base to look around and dispel their concerns. They saw for themselves that the above-mentioned metal boxes proved no other than mobile WCs,” Ali Bagheri adds.

Analysts, meanwhile, point to Israel’s reluctance to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is also rejected by North Korea, Pakistan and India. The document was earlier supported by Iran along with 189 other countries.

The Daily Mail newspaper quoted a source in the British Defense Ministry as saying on Tuesday that Tehran’s atomic bomb will never be detonated. In any case, its creation will hardly be music for the ears of the West, analysts say, adding that Iran’s atomic ambitions may prompt many regional countries, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to start dealing with the development of a nuclear weapon.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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