When the ayatollah’s crossed the non-return line

After approximately two years of negotiations, members of the UN Security Council, the European Union and Germany reached an agreement with Iran to reduce its nuclear program. In this agreement, Iran committed itself (under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency) to reduce its arsenal to 5,000 centrifuges and to maintain only two nuclear power plants (Natanz and Fordo) operating for scientific purposes. In addition, Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear program by 97%, to sell much of its heavy water and to maintain the purity level of its uranium by 3.67%. This agreement, which does not prevent the creation of a nuclear bomb but delays it for 15 years, lift the international community’s economic sanctions against Iran and gives 150 billion dollars to the ayatollah’s regime that may be used to sustain the economical aid that Iran has been providing to the Al-Assad regime. This relationship has already made Iran spend over 100 billion dollars in the Syrian civil war to pay over 250,000 soldier salaries. Iran, which has deployed Iraqi and Afghan militias, Hezbollah fighters and 70,000 Iranian soldiers to help the regime’s 50,000 troops, has been involved in the Syrian conflict since the beginning because it is afraid of losing its 13 military bases in Syria. In addition, Iran is afraid of losing its high influence over the Syrian army (an influence that has been challenged by Syrian generals who trust more in Russia than Iran).

Now, why is this Islamist regime a threat to the United States, Israel and the world? After the Islamic revolution in 1979, the reign of Tsar Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to an end. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was exiled in France, returned to Iran, where he enjoyed a great popularity in Iran. After promising to support an “Islamic democracy” at the beginning of the social upheavals that ended the tsar’s reign, his proposals were forgotten when he pushed for a Sharia-based constitution where the head of state (and spiritual leader of the country) would be himself. During the revolution, an event that would change history forever took place on November 4th 1979. Pro-Khomeini protesters assaulted the US embassy (the United States was the tsar’s main ally and its political and diplomatic interventionism was completely “neocolonialist”) and abducted 66 US diplomats and several US citizens for 444 days.

Since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Iranian-American diplomatic relations have been technically nonexistent, albeit militarily (in 1980 Washington sold arms to Tehran to fight Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) and commercially (the United States kept on acquiring Iranian oil, although second-hand, until the 2006 sanctions) speaking have been very active. But it has been anti-Western rhetoric, pro-development of nuclear weapons, denial of the Holocaust and pro-destruction of Israel, fostered during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, what led to the concern of the United States and the international community over which Iran may be capable of. In addition, the continued support and patronage of terrorism around the world (Iran is the top sponsor of terrorism in the world) includes both Sunni (Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza) and Shiite (Hezbollah) jihadist entities. This is why I don’t buy Iran’s “anti-takfiri” propaganda, since themselves support takfirism if it is about protecting their own interests. Thanks to the nuclear agreement in 2015, Iran has been able to re-export its oil (Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves at a relatively low depth), its mining industry has rebounded and has re-opened itself to Western financial markets. But sadly, these benefits have doubtlessly strengthened Iran’s anti-Western rhetoric and its support for terrorism.

In fact, Iran currently sends arms to Lebanon (for Hezbollah) on commercial airplanes, expanded its presence and paramilitary programs in the Middle East and Latin America (especially in Isla de Margarita, Venezuela with the patronage of that country’s new Vice-President, Tareck el-Aissami), and even reached a non-written agreement with Obama’s administration to develop ballistic missiles with a range of scope of 2,000 km. From my point of view, the ayatollahs’ regime will not cease its hostility against the United States and Israel (despite recent sanctions against individuals and banks supporting Tehran’s nuclear program) until it receives a military counterattack either in its territory (by bombing their nuclear infrastructure), or another place (as it could be in the Syrian War). Iran has a regime that does not seeks to end radicalism, end the inter-religious hatred that abounds in the region, or progress in human rights (in 2015 executed approximately 1,000 people). It is therefore that Iran is a perpetual risk for the very existence of the State of Israel and the United States.

About the Author
José Lev Gómez is an MA candidate in Security and Intelligence at the University of Buckingham in England and has a degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Israel Studies from the American University in Washington, DC. José has interned at the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, at the College Republicans National Committee and The David Project in Washington, DC. In addition to his interest in Spanish politics, diplomacy and security issues in the Middle East, José has worked as coordinator of events related to Israel for American University Hillel and as an events assistant for the Center for Israel Studies at the American University. He recently completed a diplomatic internship at the Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation in Washington, DC. In addition to collaborating with this newspaper, José writes for Diario Judío (Mexico) and has written for newspapers such as El Nuevo Día (Puerto Rico), El Vocero de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico), Latino Rebels (United States) and Red Alert Politics (United States). José is the author of two books: "Panorama Internacional: Una mirada a la geopolítica e historia mundial (2016-2017)" and "Puerto Rico: El nocivismo del insularismo y el colonialismo", and he completed his final project in Israel Studies on the "Relations of Israel with Basque and Catalan Nationalism.
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