Steve Kramer
Steve Kramer

Might Iran Implode?

Iran has never caused more trouble than it does today. It has successfully completed its “crescent” road eastward to the Mediterranean through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. It’s proxy militias, most notably Hezbollah, can be stronger than national armies, as Hezbollah is in Lebanon. It is so powerful there that Hezbollah is in a standoff position with the IDF, which is generally considered one of the world’s strongest armies. This is due to Hezbollah’s arsenal of approximately 150,000 rockets (random) and missiles (targeted). Iran controls Lebanon, plays a big role in Syria, is the major power in Iraq, and is successfully confronting Saudi Arabia in Yemen. 

So what’s Iran’s problem? A lot:  Ethnic Persians are the majority in Iran, but its non-Persian minorities are restive and even the Persian population is deeply divided between love and hate for the Islamist-led government. The Iranian currency is worth only a fraction of what it was just months ago. The cost of living is sky high, with even staples priced above what the population can pay.

“For weeks Iran has weathered demonstrations, mainly in protest against the growing shortages of water and electricity, and against the background of the prolonged economic crisis and the spread of the coronavirus delta variant.” (https://www.inss.org.il/publication/iran-water-electricity/) 8/5/21

So, electricity is not available reliably. Even more important, neither is water, which no one can live without. Not only that, the minorities are quite aware that what little there is, is being given disproportionally to the Persian population. Besides Persians, the 86 million Iranians are made up of Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes. They recognize their status is far below that of the majority Persians.

37% of the population is 24 years old or younger, with an unemployment rate close to 25%. The birth rate is below replacement (but this is not unusual in parts of today’s world). Iran’s economy is heavily dependent on natural resources, with oil and oil products being the largest contributor by far – and the supply of oil outside of the Middle East has burgeoned while the world’s transportation fleets and private vehicles are turning towards electric power.

Iran’s closest allies are all non-Western and are generally not allied with the US. Iran’s nuclear role model seems to be North Korea, which uses its nuclear weapons threat to keep its leadership in power. The North Korean population counts for zero as far as the ruling class is concerned, which starves and subjugates the majority of North Koreans in order to retain its status.

Iran is on the same course towards nuclear weapons capability, with the Western powers seemingly blind to its ambitions. Only Israel stands firmly and irrevocably in its path. Have you ever wondered why Israel is so intent on depriving Iran of nuclear weapons? It’s because Iranian leaders say over and over that they intend to use nukes to eradicate Israel. 

Unfortunately, the leading powers of the UN (including the US ambassador) and other member states aren’t bothered very much by Iran threats against Israel. This, despite the explicit language of the UN Charter: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Israel was recognized as a member state in the early years of the UN and is treated uniquely, disproportionally, and derisively by its various agencies and organizations. 

The world is spooked by North Korea bellicosity; likewise, it should be especially wary of Iran, which is  the world’s leading perpetrator and funder of terrorism and calls outright for the destruction of the US as well as Israel. Middle East pundit Yoram Ettinger points out, “The US is perceived by rogue Middle East entities [primarily Iran] as ‘The Great Satan’ and [is] the mega-obstacle on their [Iran’s] way to achieve their mega-goal: bringing the West to submission, militarily, culturally and religiously. This mega-goal has been deeply-rooted since the 7th century [birth of Islam], independent of US policies.” Iran (a Muslim but not an Arab state) aspires to regain its once-held status as head of the Caliphate, leader of all Muslim communities, especially the Arabs. (https://theettingerreport.com/president-bidens-middle-east-policy/)

Israel is an (undeclared) nuclear weapons power which has never held the nuclear threat over another country, even its enemies. Few nations, excepting Israel’s neighbors (many of whom are its enemies), agitate for removal of Israel’s “nukes.” This is because they aren’t worried about Israel attacking it with nuclear weapons, even if they’re not happy about Israel having them.

The leaders of Iran, Muslim fanatics all, are similar to the North Korean rulers in their disregard for their population, even the Persian contingent. This has not gone unnoticed by the population, who grow more restive as conditions deteriorate. In the meantime, the leadership blithely  and enthusiastically crows about how it will destroy its enemies.

The ambition of Iran’s newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi (“the Butcher”), is to “liberate” Jerusalem. He is the handpicked choice of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and is thought by many to be his favored successor. Raisi is at least as radical as one former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often expressed the wish to eradicate Israel and wipe it off the globe. However, Ahmadinejad was somewhat of a joke, while “the Butcher” has earned that nickname by his murderous exploits. He is not a former mayor, like Ahmadinejad, but a ruthless cleric and former prosecutor, who was one of a quartet who condemned many (estimated to be thousands) to death starting in 1988, in a series of state-sponsored executions of political prisoners across Iran. 

Iran’s strategy of building proxy armies to do its dirty work has been very successful, limiting the number of Iranian (not Arab) casualties while sacrificing Yemenites, Iraqis, Syrians and Lebanese (all Arabs). But not one of those countries is in any way a success story, and the whole lot of them may be defeated by enemies or overthrown from within. The recent ruination of Syria is an example and the demolition of Lebanon is happening in real time. 

More importantly, Iran itself may fail, unless the feckless Western countries prop it up, as they seem to be doing by begging Iran to take Western money and rejoin the JCPOA. In the Bible we learn that, “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,” making the freeing of the Hebrew slaves inevitable. It could be that something similar is taking place at the Vienna conference, where the hubris of the Iranian negotiators may cause even the most acquiescent negotiating partners to back away from a deal. 

In that event, perhaps other countries will join with Israel in confronting Iran, possibly resulting in regime change there. That revolution would have beneficial consequences throughout the Middle East and the world.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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