What is the real purpose of Iran’s nuclear program?

Iran puts significant efforts into hiding the real purpose of its nuclear program. In order to gain internal public support and support around the Islamic world, Iran mobilizes their military and political efforts against the ultimate enemy of Islam – Israel. Since the revolution, Iran has attempted to establish broad support throughout the Islamic world by spearheading the battle against Israel. Like all others who attempted to lead the Islamic world. Iran could not strive to rule the Islamic world without declaring war on the “little Satan”, the State of Israel. Therefore, consciously, Iran has cast its nuclear program as the ultimate response to Zionism, raising their status as the state leading the battle against Israel.

However, various processes and changes throughout the Middle East have illustrated that the ultimate goal of Iran is not the destruction of Israel, but the takeover and hegemony over Sunni Muslim state – “the export of the revolution”. The current civil war in Syria shows the the extent to which there is hatred between various ethnic and religious groups throughout the Middle East. The Sunni majority in Syria views the Alawites, an offshoot of Shi’a Islam, to be heretics, with whom compromise is impossible. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood has established a strong Sunni coalition against the Alawites, in what has turned into a religious war.  This deep hatred is rooted in the period of Haffetz Al-Assad, who killed approximately 50,000 residents of Hama during the Muslim Brotherhood-led rebellion. Thus, the ongoing warfare in Syria is a symbol for a broader, ongoing  war across the Middle East between Sunnis and Shi’a. Indeed, the massive amount of casualties in Iraq over the last decade has primarily been a product of Sunni-Shi’a hatred and terrorism.

Thus, in the end the Iranian attempt to achieve nuclear arms is not meant to wage a nuclear war against Israel, but rather to serve as a deterrent and increase Shi’a hegemony against the primarily Sunni Arab world. Indeed, this is a religious war.

By spearheading the battle against Iran’s nuclear program, Israel is, in fact, serving, inadvertently, the interests of Sunni Islam, and the Muslim Brotherhood. They find it very comfortable to allow Israel to do their dirty work for them.

Obviously, Israel must take the Iranian nuclear threat with the utmost seriousness. However, Israel must understand that it must not to get involved in a religious war within Islam, so that we are not pulled in to take a side. Israel must not do the work of others, parrticularly those who also operate against Israel, both politically and militarily.


About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center