The hard truth about Iran

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On April 14, Iranian troops boarded and briefly held a Hong Kong-flagged tanker and its Chinese crew in the Straits of Hormuz.  The next day eleven vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy approached six US military ships while they were conducting integration operations with Army helicopters in international waters.  The US ships issued several warnings through bridge-to-bridge radio and blasts from the ships’ horns and the Iranian vessels left after about an hour,

These are only the most recent, and comparatively mild, harassments the Iranian regime has been indulging in ever since its founding in 1979,  For the past 41 years the world has grappled with problems emanating from the Iranian regime either directly or initiated through its proxy militias like Hezbollah or the Houthis. Bombings, rocket attacks, assassinations and terrorist actions in the Middle East and across the world has been the pattern.  For decades Iran also made determined efforts to develop nuclear power, with the aim – never openly acknowledged – of producing nuclear weapons.  The present regime is almost certainly still set on achieving that objective.

In 2015, in an attempt to cripple its nuclear program, the permanent members of the UN Security Council together with Germany concluded an agreement with Iran.  No doubt all those involved, including then-US President Barak Obama, had the best of intentions.  With that deal – which incorporated a substantial financial boost to Iran – they believed they had put the regime’s nuclear ambitions on hold for at least 15 years, making the world a safer place.  Moreover they believed that they had taken an important step toward bringing Iran back within the comity of nations.

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They were mistaken.  “Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015,” said President Donald Trump, speaking on January 8, 2020, “and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash.  Instead of saying “thank you” to the United States, they chanted “death to America.”  In fact, they chanted “death to America” the day the agreement was signed. Then, Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal, and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration.”

The problem that Iran poses to the civilized world stems entirely from the Islamic revolutionary regime that the nation wished on itself back in 1979.  Ayatollah Khomeini, the figurehead for Iran’s new direction, became Supreme Leader in December 1979.  His philosophy, which he wrote about nearly 40 years before, required the immediate imposition of strict Sharia law domestically, and a foreign policy aimed at spreading the Shi’ite interpretation of Islam across the globe by whatever means were deemed expedient..

“We shall export our revolution to the whole world,” he declared. “Until the cry ‘There is no god but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.”

Pursuit of this fundamental objective of the Islamic Revolution has involved the state in undertaking or sponsoring acts of terror, mayhem and murder directed not only against Western targets, but against non-Shia Muslims as well.

Khomeini was unequivocal about the basic purpose of his regime.  “We have set as our goal the worldwide spread of the influence of Islam and the suppression of the rule of the world conquerors.”

This partly explains Iran’s unremitting hostility to Sunni Saudi Arabia.  With Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, within its borders, the Saudi kingdom sees itself as the leader of the Muslim world – a claim hotly contested by Iran. The regime sees Saudi Arabia as its great rival for political, as well as religious, hegemony in the region. In 1987 the regime’s founder, its first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared that Mecca was in the hands of “a band of heretics”.

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About the basic purpose of the regime, this is what Khomeini declared:  “We wish to cause the corrupt roots of Zionism, Capitalism and Communism to wither throughout the world. We wish, as does God almighty, to destroy the systems which are based on these three foundations, and to promote the Islamic order of the Prophet.”

In short, a clear-eyed look at the facts shows that a genuine accommodation with revolutionary Iran is simply not possible.  From their point of view it would be a negation of the fundamental purposes underlying the regime – its very raison d’être.

About the Author
Born in London and educated at Oxford University, Neville Teller has worked in advertising, management, the media and the Civil Service, and has written about the Middle East for more than 30 years. He has also written consistently for BBC radio, and in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2006 was awarded an MBE "for services to broadcasting and to drama.” He made aliyah in 2011.
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