Iran: Evil Empire or Smart Power Broker?

By Jan van Deursen

According to George W. Bush, Iran is the center of the Axis of Evil. A certain Nobel Peace Prize winner, who happens to be the current president of the US, is considering a pre-emptive strike because a nuclear Iran is a “global threat to democracy and peace.”

According to both Mr. Bush and Mr. Peace Prize, Iran is an irrational power that will use any means to acquire nuclear capabilities and is not afraid to use them against its enemies. Let me tell you why this doesn’t make any sense.

In the West we like to divide the world into good and evil, with the emphasis on glorifying our own goodness and democracy. We regard everyone who is not part of our conception of goodness as per definition evil, and evil is equal to irrational. Iran is developing a nuclear power plant and immediately we think that it is trying to nuke us into oblivion, yet nobody actually asks her or himself why the Iranians would do that.

A nuclear attack from Iran would give the US, Israel and Europe a perfect excuse to unleash nuclear retaliation that would blow a very big hole into the country currently known as Iran. If the Iranian regime would like to survive, and I very much think it does, it is extremely unlikely they will ever launch a nuclear attack. Rule number one of warfare: Never start a war you cannot win.

Why do we actually believe Iran is trying to go nuclear? This is mainly proclaimed by the US and Israel, but if you read a few cables on WikiLeaks you see the US is convinced that Iran stopped its nuclear weapon program back in 2003.

What is also mentioned is the fact that even if Iran had sufficient enriched uranium, they wouldn’t be able to deliver the material to any of their enemies, because they do not have the rockets to do so.

This raises the question why Iran is actively trying to be such a pain in the ass towards Israel and the West? Why does it say it will wipe Israel or, “the Zionist entity”, of the map, and most of all: why does it seem so comfortable with the nuclear issue? It has everything to do with influence. Iran is one of the only Shi’a Muslim countries in the world and therefore stands more alone than most people might think.

To influence what is happening in the region and especially in Israel, Iran has to be powerful, and what is more powerful than a nuclear bomb? The threat of the bomb gives them a seat on the negotiation table. In my eyes Iran is playing a very dangerous game of power play with the West. This is confirmed by the Iranian reaction to a recent speech by Obama, in which he mentioned that military action is starting to become a possible option somewhere in the near future. Only a day later the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator proposed that it is a good time to start new negotiations, which will take place on the 13th of April in Istanbul.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if the US, Israel and the EU started to completely ignore Iran, because we all know barking dogs don’t actually bite.


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