May 16, 2016

The Iranian Nuclear Threat

Aryeh Lande ‘18

Iran currently poses an existential threat to the State of Israel. In recent years, the Persian Gulf State has attracted the attention of policymakers and media outlets around the world for its nefarious nuclear program. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iran sought to become the central military power of the region in order to exert Shia-dominance over its Sunni neighbors. As the carefully shrouded project grew, Iran acquired nuclear secrets from scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan’s successful nuclear program. Then, in 1995, Iran received the backing of Russia, a long established nuclear power and a rival of the United States. This very aggressive push toward the creation of a nuclear bomb piqued American and Israeli concern, prompting the first round of sanctions to be placed on Iran.

As these events unfolded, Israel began systematically compiling intelligence and following the funding of the Iranian program. From 2000 to 2010 major discoveries were made about the program that exposed its network and brought expansive details to international attention. From 2010, Israel has worked on dismantling the program using techniques such as cyber attacks and alleged assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists (The Israeli government did not comment on its involvement, but other parties have found alleged Israeli connections), while the US began lobbying the issue at the United Nations, passing new sanctions and demanding international intervention. Israel, too, lobbied before the General Assembly, most memorably with Netanyahu holding the diagram of a bomb and drawing a red line. Sanctions and Israeli efforts appeared to be working and Iran’s economy became so sequestered that they were compelled to come to the negotiating table and after months of talks, a deal for limiting the program was finally agreed upon.

Many members of the international community rejoiced, believing that this would end the threat Iran posed to Israel’s existence, but this is nowhere near the truth. The existential threat to Israel remains central to the ideology of the country’s theocratic leadership. The capabilities of a country do not matter as long as there is motivation to vanquish. With or without a nuclear bomb, the government of Iran still poses the greatest threat to Israel's existence, as they will find other ways of channeling their hatred. Already, they fund terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that seek the annihilation of Israel. Furthermore, Iran has tested ballistic missiles capable of precise attacks on Israeli cities. Horrifically, in March, Iran launched such missiles claiming publicly that they had slogans painted on them reading, “Israel must be wiped off the Earth.” No matter what Iran’s government says, the truth will always reside in the theocratic regime calling the shots behind the facade of democracy. The Ayatollah and his followers know that with a formalized nuclear deal, the international community will not focus on their aggressions. This was shown with the missile test in which Iran shamelessly proclaimed they would wipe Israel off the map. With no response from the U.S. President, the Iranian religious fanatics who despise Israel know it is now only them versus the solitary Jewish State. Additionally, the lifting of sanctions means Iran will reap international investments, causing revenues to increase exponentially. Everything is posed for Iran to wipe Israel off the map. With or without a nuke, Iran still has the 21st largest military in the world, as well as 40 million eligible draftees. This, along with a growing economy, an indoctrinated population and Russian support make their defenses almost impenetrable. By giving destructive S-300 missiles to Iran, Russia effectively blocks any aerial assault on Iran, while solidifying its alliance with the gulf nation. After two hard fought, fruitless wars in the Middle East, one must question the United State’s willingness to go to war against an Iran backed by Russia just to defend the State of Israel. The Ayatollah will stop at nothing to eliminate Israel, and while the Nuclear Deal may pose a setback, it does not eliminate the ideology driving the hatred. This is why the world must stay vigilant and not take Iran’s aggressive behavior lightly. We must stop any future threat early if we hope to have any chance at keeping Israel intact.

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