Targeting Iran

This episode of Al Jazeera English’s “Empire” focuses on two issues: how do insecure countries like Iran act when they are threatened and what would a war on Iran look like?

Some interesting points:

  • An U.S. strike on Iran would be neither “limited nor surgical” (at the 23-minute mark an Iran war scenario is visualized)
  • Host Marwan Bishara notes that the previous director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, was careful with the way IAEA reports about Iran were structured. He did not want to make Iran feel that it was being targeted by hostile powers that were out to get it, knowing that this would actually hasten any desire to go nuclear. Yukiya Amano has pursued a different tract, opting to politicize information about Iran’s nuclear program that was already known. (Amano was also reportedly rather friendly with the U.S. prior to being appointed to his post a the UN.) In response to the recent IAEA report’s release, Iran has threatened to withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty, but they have made similar threats in the past, so we’ll have to wait and see if things escalate further.
  • Historian Dilip Hiro who has written several books on Iran argues that “whatever Iran is doing is defensive”. He adds that this defensiveness is rooted in the bloody Iran-Iraq war which saw the U.S. supporting invader Iraq for much of it. Iran is defensive because of its regional isolation and because of its recent past experiences. “Everything flows from Iran-Iraq war,” says Hiro.
  • The analysts agree that an attack on Iran by the U.S. or Israel would be a disastrous, but do not rule out the possibility that Israel could accidentally “talk itself into war”, especially when considering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsessive demonization of Iran.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.