FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Iran Nuke “Threat”

They say you can’t kill that which has never lived.  It’s useful advice when analyzing the persistence of the so-called “Iranian nuclear threat.”

According to a report in McClatchy, “Israeli intelligence officials now estimate that Iran won’t be able to build a nuclear weapon before 2015 or 2016.”

Recall that just this past September Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was theatrically warning that Iran would achieve nuclear weapons capability by “next spring, at most by next summer.”

Of course, Netanyahu has made a career out of warning that Iran is about to go nuclear – claiming as early as 1992 that Iran was 3 to 5 years away from being able to produce a bomb

As one Israeli official justifiably lamented to McClatchy, “Did we cry wolf too early?”  Yes – early and often, to be precise.

“There has not been the run towards a nuclear bomb that some people feared,” the Israeli official went on to note.  “There is a deliberate slowing on their [Iran’s] end.”

The fact that Iran has made no run towards a bomb should come as no surprise.  After all, both U.S. and Israeli intelligence estimates have repeatedly found that Iran is not pursuing a bomb.

Moreover, it’s been nearly a year now since Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei first issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons.

“The Islamic Republic,” Khamenei declared back in early 2012, “logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

Speaking earlier this month, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast reiterated that Khamenei’s fatwa is binding.

“There is nothing more important in defining the framework for our nuclear activities than the Leader’s fatwa,” Mehmanparast stated. “This fatwa is our operational instruction.”

Contrast, then, the Iranian nuclear posture with that of the U.S. and Israel – the two supposedly threatened parties.

Israel has perhaps as many as 200 nuclear weapons.  It is unknown precisely just how many bombs Israel possesses because it refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Iran has done), or allow in international inspectors (which Iran continues to do).

Meanwhile, the U.S. – the only nation to actually deploy nuclear weapons in combat – is currently in the midst of upgrading its arsenal of 5,113 nuclear warheads.  With conservative estimates approaching $400 billion, the Washington Post reports, it will be the “costliest overhaul in its history.”

And yet, it is Iran that poses the nuclear threat.

In fact, Netanyahu, in defiance of his country’s own intelligence, continues to this day to warn of “Iran’s race to achieve nuclear capability.”

The Iranian nuclear threat simply cannot be killed.  And as it is permitted to linger, the U.S. military planning against Iran continues its acceleration.

As former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack revealed in a recent interview with the Daily Beast, the Pentagon has drawn up detailed plans for a “surgical operation” against Iran – what Barack deemed “scalpels.”

It’s worth noting, however, that much of the speculation on a possible U.S. strike against Iran has centered on the use of the Pentagon’s Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon.  At 30,000 pounds, the “mother of all bombs,” as it is known, is the “largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. military arsenal.”

Clearly, the definition of what constitutes a “surgical operation” is becoming ever more flexed.

The Israeli daily Haaretz, meanwhile, reports that the Pentagon has just deployed six F-22 Raptor fighters to the Al-Dhafra Airbase in the United Arab Emirates.

The F-22, as Haaretz notes, is the “most advanced fighter currently in operational use by the United States Air Force and the only operational ‘stealth’ fighter in use around the world with the capability to evade enemy radar systems.”

The Pentagon originally deployed the F-22s to its UAE airbase last April, but claimed at the time that their deployment was to be temporary.  But after nine months, and a reinforcement of the warplanes, the deployment appears to be quite permanent.

It is again useful to compare Washington’s military posture in the Gulf to that of Tehran.

As an April Pentagon report found, Iran’s defense doctrine remains one of self-defense.  Iran’s military capacity, the report notes, is designed specifically to “slow an invasion” and “force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.”

The stationing of the stealth fighters in the UAE, along with a naval armada in the waters of the Persian Gulf, makes it abundantly clear what the U.S. defense doctrine is designed for.

It’s clear, then, the Iranian nuclear threat is but a phantom menace.  And that in part explains its enduring presence.  You can’t kill that which has never lived.

Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer based in Wisconsin.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his website.

More articles by:

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his blog.

March 20, 2019
T.J. Coles
Countdown to “Full Spectrum Dominance”
W. T. Whitney
Re-Targeting Cuba: Why Title III of U.S. Helms-Burton Act will be a Horror Show
Kenneth Surin
Ukania’s Great Privatization Heist
Howard Lisnoff
“Say It Ain’t So, Joe:” the Latest Neoliberal from the War and Wall Street Party
Walter Clemens
Jailed Birds of a Feather May Sing Together
George Ochenski
Failing Students on Climate Change
Cesar Chelala
The Sweet Smell of Madeleine
Binoy Kampmark
Global Kids Strike
Nicky Reid
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail