For over two years, there has been an increasing presumption that the United states is planning to take military action against Iran if the latter does not stop enriching uranium and other related activities. The issue has been developing a serious concern among experts, scholars, commentators and opinion writers evidenced by many publications in the media, books, and a variety of programs in television and other electronic media. The consequences of such action is so dire and horrific to the U.S. and world economy and social life and security that requires a serious and informed public attention.
Culturally, historically and politically Iranians are quite different from the peoples in the rest of the countries of the Middle East. Iran, meaning the land of Arians, has over 5000 years of history and at times it has been the greatest and most advanced empire in the world. Under pressure for centuries for dominance by nearly all important colonial powers such as Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany and, since WWII, the United States, Iranians have developed a remarkable sophistication in international affairs, which has been the secret of their survival as an independent nation in the region not for centuries but millennia.. From the viewpoint of informed scholars and experts, United States, is no match for Iran. It can destroy Iranian cities and means of livelihood but it cannot conquer its over 70 million people, 60 percent of which were born after the 1979 Revolution.
The Iranian government, with a unified support of its people knows what it is doing and what it needs to do to sustain its sovereignty, dignity and national security.. Its present foreign policy, beside establishing friendly relations with all its neighbors, has two main defensive and protective components.
First, realistically speaking, Iran desires to possess nuclear capability, but purely for establishing a balance of power in the region, particularly against Israel, and only for defensive and protective purposes. If the United States is adamantly against Iran becoming a nuclear power, it is mainly because the possible danger it creates to Israel. Iran has no capacity to be a nuclear threat to the United states since it lacks the proper delivery system.
Second, Iran is not afraid of the United States and its intention of preemptive strikes. Because, it has a weapon against U.S. far more destructive and effective than a nuclear bomb. That is the Middle East oil, the life blood of the US economy. Not the Iranian oil but other oil resources in the region where oil is exported to the United States. If Iran is attacked by US or Israel as a US proxy, Iran may decide to destroy the region's largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, which provides for 10 percent of the world's refined oil. Iran is well capable of doing this by hitting Saudi installations by a few of its accurate Shahab missiles with proper explosive heads. This may be considered a preemptive strike on another nation, but Iran may justify it as a counter-strike on American foreign resources, necessary for its own defense. Iran may claim that there is more cause for action here than the US preemptive attack on Iraq where no danger was facing the United states.
Iran has already expressed its intention of such actions against the American interests in the region if Iran is attacked. The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei has recently expressed that "Iran would respond to American aggression by striking at the United States anywhere in the world."(1) In fact, Iran has already plans for such action as clearly stated by a senior source in the Iranian Army "That Iran has a plan, in the event of American military action, to stage suicide and rocket attacks not only against Israel or America in Iraq, but also against Arab countries allied to America."(2)
Such an attack on oil refineries in Saudi Arabia, for example, will have a devastating impact on the US economy as well as those of the European countries who support the US policy against Iran. It is estimated that restoration of the refinery to its previous capacity will take at least seven months. As a result of this one action alone, the price of gas per gallon is estimated to rise to above $6.00 in US and $10,00 in Europe.
Iran will not be worried about retaliation by US or any other country since it will hold the power to destroy or substantially damage all other oil installations in the region which export oil to the United states, except those of Iraq, causing a global economic disaster.
Meanwhile, Iran will benefit from bombing the Saudi refinery because it will cause a substantial rise in oil prices of which Iran exports around 2.5 million barrels a day. No country will try to destroy Iranian oil installations since such action will further deteriorate the world economic situation.
There would be a mistake to think that Iran will not dare to attack Saudi refineries or other oil installations in the region which export oil to the United States. U.S. invaded Iraq with much less cause. It was not pushed against the wall, in fact, there was no danger coming to US from Iraq. Iran will have a far more justifiable cause to destroy the economic resources of the United States within its reach.
It is not difficult to visualize such consequences from any action against Iran. With all these easily possible scenarios, a wise decision for the West may seem to let Iran alone in its atomic energy endeavors in accordance with the Nonproliferation Treaty which allows member countries to do research and discoveries in the atomic energy field.
As stated in The Nation Magazine "American forces are highly vulnerable to Iranian-sponsored guerrilla warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed Iran has good reason to believe it could prevail in an extended conflict by encouraging Shiite attacks on U.S. forces and by driving up oil prices to well over $100 a barrel by threatening shipping and oil facilities in the Persian Gulf. It makes no sense for the Administration to threaten Iran when we're so vulnerable to Iranian retaliation."(3)
It should be also considered that, as the experience has shown, the nations determined to possess nuclear weapons such as India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan, have ultimately succeeded despite of all restrictions imposed on them. Particularly, attention must be paid to the fact that Iran, as shown above, has a better, much cheaper and more effective weapon against the United States and the rest of the world. It does not need nuclear weapon for offensive purposes. Any attempt to attack Iran would have disastrous effect on the world economy, social life, security as well as stability.
1. "A Sequel Nobody Wants" Economist, May 6, 2006, pp.26-27, p.27.
2. "A Government That Thrives on Defiance" Economist, May 6, 2006, pp.26-27, p.26.
3. "Saber Rattling Over Iran" The Nation, May 22, 2006, pp.3-4, p.4